Eye For Film >> Movies >> 2 Days In Paris (2007) Film Review
2 Days In Paris
Reviewed by: Chris
The lovely Julie Delpy is perhaps best known for a couplet of films by Richard Linklater. Before Sunrise and Before Sunset were made nine years apart, but both movies follow two people as they wander aimlessly through a romantic city. Arguing, flirting and generally having a delicious time.
Subtract flirting and having a delicious time. Keep arguing. For 96 minutes.
2 Days In Paris seems to attempt the Linklater formula but with a couple that has already been together for two years. Humour is provided by a vapid shadow of generational clash that was done so much better in Meet the Parents. Instead of Linklater lightness we have a script that sounds like bad Woody Allen with added Alzheimer's. Attempts at making comic caricatures of French and American stereotypes are almost enough to make you swear off visiting either country for good.
Delpy's on-screen parents are played by her real life ones. Delpy herself stars, directs, edits and writes the music. Which would be quite a family achievement. Were it any good.
Jack and Marion are a New York based couple passing through Paris. Marion is French. Her parents and several former boyfriends live there. Jack is American and doesn't speak French. He thinks of himself as a liberal but has an overbearingly American attitude toward sex, hygiene and food. Marion's parents are overly proud French. Dad takes great delight in trying to ridicule American lack of taste and culture. He scratches cars that have been parked badly and mixes explicit language with his knowledge of the arts. Jack is permanently annoyed with Marion's habits and vice versa. If a film filled with jealousy and bickering is your idea of a fun night, you could definitely have some laughs with 2 Days In Paris.
There's plenty of material for an excellent film, but the chosen freewheeling formula is perhaps the inappropriate one. An unrelenting stream of flirtation in Before Sunrise is both novel and easy on an audience. An unrelenting stream of bickering thirty-somethings is less so.
Jack and Marion lack any believable chemistry from the very start. It is difficult to understand why they are together at all. Resolution, when it comes, is replaced by voiceover, as if apologising for something that could never be acted convincingly. We are supposed to believe that Marion truly prefers Jack's sneezes (in her face, when he wakes up) to anyone else's kisses.
Delpy's father offers maybe the best characterisation of the whole film. Although imbued with obnoxious habits, he has self-confidence and charisma. Marion's cat, the source of many an argument, is also lovable enough to take home. My favourite scene though is where Jack is being rude to a fast food waitress. She doesn't understand English. But in the one major reversal of stereotypes in the whole film, she remains humbly polite. I found her sincerity, in the face of so much Franco-American boorishness, eulogised by this film, truly touching.
Julie Delpy has much to offer. Sadly, in this film, she has offered too much. "You have an impulse control disorder and you need to be medicated," Jack says to her at one point. A little self-restraint would have gone a long way.Reviewed on: 27 Aug 2007
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