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Movie Review: 2 Days in Paris

By Tom Houseman

August 28, 2007

The scary truth is that he could get a Julie Delpy.

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Julie Delpy seems to be trying to say something about love and relationships in 2 Days in Paris, her directorial debut. She attempts to use her film to provide some sort of perception into how relationships function and why people stay in unhealthy situations, but any meaning is lost amongst jokes about sex, racist cabbies, and misused anal thermometers. Co-starring Adam Goldberg, Delpy's film - which she also wrote, produced, starred in, and wrote the music for - is entirely unremarkable; is frequently cute, often clever, but occasionally irritating and grating, and never insightful. 2 Days in Paris feels like a diary entry torn from Julie Delpy's journal, unedited, and hastily filmed. The result, unsurprisingly, is shallow and unsatisfying.

Marion and Jack (Delpy and Goldberg, who dated in real life) have just finished vacationing in Venice, and have returned to Marion's home in Paris to pick up her cat, and for Jack to meet Marion's parents (Albert Delpy and Marie Pillet, Delpy's actual parents). But in Paris, Jack's neuroses - and man do they have a lot of neuroses - and Marion's abrasiveness start to clash, exacerbated by numerous run-ins with Marion's ex-boyfriends. Delpy is a talented writer, and much of the dialogue in 2 Days in Paris is witty and gives great insight into the characters of Jack and Marion. But the plot of the film is poorly developed, with not enough happening in the film to propel its 96 minutes, and the voice-over story telling technique is distracting, adding nothing to the film.




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It is Delpy's directorial talent that needs the most work. Obviously taking her cue from Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, in which she starred, Delpy tries to use the camera to take in every sight and sound of Paris. This tactic, however, fails to meet its ambitious goal. Several long, moving shots strung together give little sense of milieu to the film, but instead make 2 Days in Paris seem sloppy and lazy. Linklater is a talented enough director that he can let the world unfold around the camera, and make sense of it cinematically and artistically; Delpy has certainly not reached that level.

Adam Goldberg and Julie Delpy are very talented actors, and work wonders in keeping their characters from dipping into clich�s. Goldberg is able to fully develop the paranoid hypochondriac Jack, totally out of his element in a city where he can't speak the language. The contrast with the defiantly angry Marion makes for some entertaining moments. Unfortunately, no other character is given enough time to really develop in "The Jack and Marion Show." We get some sense of Marion's family, mostly how creepy, selfish, and sex-obsessed her parents are, but not much else. A brief appearance by German actor Daniel Bruhl is a breath of fresh air in the film's windingly tedious ending.

Julie Delpy deserves to make a movie. She has acted under and learned from some of the best directors in the world, giving great performances in excellent movies. In addition, she has spent more than a decade trying to get one of her screenplays produced, and has finally succeeded. The only reason she was finally able to direct one of her films is because of the success that she found with Before Sunset. Yes, Julie Delpy deserves to make a movie, but one that is better than 2 Days in Paris.


     


 
 

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