2 DAYS IN PARIS
French photographer Marion (Julie Delpy) and American interior designer Jack (Adam Goldberg) live in New York, but try to revive their sluggish romance with a European holiday. Venice is a disaster when they both go down with gastroenteritis and they stop over in Paris for two days. The city is full of promise, except for Marion's overbearing parents (Marie Pillet, Albert Delpy) who don't speak English, and her various, flirtatious ex-boyfriends who seem to pop up everywhere. Coupled with Jack's conviction that French condoms are too small, their sex life is as dysfunctional as their social life and their relationship.
Review by Louise Keller:
Everyone sees the world differently, says Julie Delpy's Marion, as she and boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) arrive in Paris, the City of Lovers for what ends up being two unexpected, hilarious, conflict-filled days. There's an enchanting quirkiness about 2 Days in Paris, which is entirely due to Delpy, who wrote (script and music), directed, edited and is the film's star. Like the two Richard Linklater projects in which Delpy starred with Ethan Hawke (Before Sunrise and Before Sunset), the film is character-driven with dialogue that flows as naturally as the River Seine. Even the fact that the chemistry between Delpy and Goldberg fails to ignite, it never dampens the spirit of this fresh, funny and original romantic comedy that tackles love, sex and the complexities of life from a French point of view.
As if the stresses of travelling are not enough to put a strain on a relationship, the film's premise thrusts two additional factors into the mix. Firstly, Goldberg's Jack is a fish-out-of water, who can neither speak the language nor is familiar with the routine. And to top it off, he is confronted by Marion's eccentric family, wonderfully played by Delpy's real-life mother (Marie Pillet), father (Albert Delpy) and sister (Aleksia Landeau), whose presence truly lift the film. (Delpy's adorable black and white cat - who is fed on fois gras for a spell - is also a scene stealer.) Additionally, there is the explosive X factor, which comes from the intangible of Marion's being confronted by outspoken family, former lovers as well as flirtatious, bigoted and abusive cab drivers in her home town, when it is clear that she no longer feels as though she belongs.
Jack and Marion start quarrelling about anything and everything as soon as they arrive in Paris. It's a little like being a fly on the wall, as they irritate each other with misunderstandings, inadequacies and jealousy. The only disappointment is that the film's emotional climax (when Jack and Marion's relationship reaches fever-pitch) is resolved by a dissatisfying voice-over, instead of the punchy and pertinent dialogue it deserves. Nevertheless, 2 Days in Paris is a delight, not withstanding the ambience of the stunning city itself, which lures us into its magical spell.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It took a second viewing to win me over completely, but that's probably to do with my fatigue rather than the film's qualities. Julie Delpy's directing debut shows off her many talents (she even composed the score) in a laugh out loud movie that looks at love as a pain in the ass. Delpy herself plays a slightly slutty girlfriend to a befuddled Adam Goldberg and she abandons all vanity to do so. She even allows herself to be unlikeable, although very real and with redeeming features.
The war of the sexes takes centre stage, with the meaningless conflict between the lovers a showcase of observational writing. There are some virtuoso scenes in the film, including a memorable confrontation in a café, when Marion meets another of her exes, who left her for an underage girl overseas. All the comedy is like this, based on seriously dramatic material.
All the dialogue has the clunky feel of reality, as if it were improvised, and she directs the many conflict scenes with great verve. Goldberg's Jack flip flops between loser and romantic, giving Delpy plenty to work off. Delpy and Goldberg both give sincere, naturalistic characterisations, as does the entire cast, engaging us with idiosyncrasies. Julie's dad, Albert, plays her on screen dad, complete with his own sexually explicit artworks, his splendid rabbit stew and his revolutionary, flirtatious spirit. Her mum and sis are also cast as her mum and sis - all to great effect.
The camera is inquisitive but we are spared the fashionably unsteady cam, and the unpredictability of it all is a welcome. Undeniably fresh, it's having fun while laughing at human weaknesses with no punches pulled.
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2 DAYS IN PARIS (M)
CAST: Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg, Marie Pillet, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Adan Jodorowski, Alex Nahon, Daniel Brühl
PRODUCER: Christoph Medozier
DIRECTOR: Julie Delpy
SCRIPT: Julie Delpy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ludomir Bakchev
EDITOR: Julie Delpy
MUSIC: Julie Delpy
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Barbara Marc
RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2007