Tuesday, 4 September 2007

2 Days in Paris - Review by Robert Duffin

Director: Julie Delpy
Screenwriter: Julie Delpy
Running Time: 96 mins
Certificate: 15
Released: Out Now!

In her second feature as director, Julie Delpy seems intent on turning the City of Love into the City of Masculine Neuroses. After a trip to Venice, eccentric photographer Marion (Delpy) and her neurotic and allergy ridden boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) decide to spend a weekend in Paris with her parents before heading back to their home in New York. Sounds good on paper, but Jack’s inability to keep up with the culture and Marion’s unfortunate knack of bumping into all of her ex-lovers put the couple’s relationship through the ringer.

2 Days in Paris, a thematic cousin to Delpy’s Linklater collaborations, could have been a horrific exercise in vanity. Not only does Delpy direct and star, but she writes, edits and scores the film, and even cast her real parents Marie Phillet and Albert Delpy as her screen parents. Yet Delpy is too classy an act to sink into a murky pool of nepotism, instead offering up the year’s smartest comedy. As an actress Delpy’s Marion evokes mid-career Woody Allen with her hilarious string of social faux pas and ubiquitous thick black specs.

Goldberg’s nasal New Yorker Jack is always fun, whether is he is being humiliated by Marion (she likes to take pictures of her lovers with balloons tied to their penises) or misunderstood by fast food workers (“I hate France!”). His derision of a DaVinci Code tour group and obsession with seeing Jim Morison’s grave for reasons even he fails to grasp (he admits he doesn’t even like The Doors) provide two of the film’s comedic highlights. Hopefully this will finally allow him to ditch the “oh that guy” tag and start taking roles from the infinitely less inspired comedy actors working today (I’m looking at all you Frat Pack bunch.)

The relationship between Marion and Jack is acutely observed. Delpy comments on the left wing intellectual couples’ wry commentary on everything around them coupled with their inability to turn this social perceptiveness on themselves. If they could, perhaps it would save them heartache, but thankfully their inability to do so provides Delpy with a third act of truth and heartache that shows us her true voice and further removes her from the humanist shadow of Richard Linklater.

While they are a witty double act whose acidic barb trading is the film’s highlight, sometimes Delpy seems to forget she’s in character. Her encounter with a racist taxi driver and a fight with a hypocritical ex-lover seemed purposely written in as an excuse for Delpy to unleash her own liberal tirade and momentarily takes you out of the movie. Similarly, a cameo by Daniel Bruhl as a “fairy”/”terrorist” is a fairly inexplicable third act occurrence. Yet despite these minor gripes, 2 Days in Paris never falls foul of it’s episodic nature and the charm of the two leads wills it into success.

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