2 Days in Paris (2007)
Starring: Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg, Daniel Brühl, Marie Pillet, Albert Delpy, Aleksia Landeau, Adan Jodorowsky, Alexandre Nahon
Directed by: Julie Delpy
Written and directed by Julie Delpy, 2 Days in Paris marks the actress’ feature film directorial debut. The movie stars Delpy and Adam Goldberg as Marion and Jack, a couple of two years who spend two days in Paris after a vacation in Venice to visit with Marion’s Parisian family (played by Delpy’s real life parents, Marie Pillet and Albert Delpy, who are professional actors themselves). Marion is a native Parisian who spends 10 months of the year in New York with Jack, an American. During their two days, the two are forced to confront issues with her family and friends, culture shock for Jack, and, ultimately, the strains each place on their relationship.
The movie is a low budget indie put together by Delpy after she directed some shorts. It’s an intimate romantic comedy, similar to the Before Sunrise and Before Sunset movies she starred in and helped write. Since those are two of my favourite movies, you’d think that this movie would have a lot of appeal for me. And it does have some appeal for me: Delpy is always appealing, some of the dialogue between Marion and Jack are comparable to those earlier films in their frankness and ability to reveal truth in relationships, and there’s some genuine laughs to be had while watching.
However, while there’s plenty to enjoy about this movie, it is a flawed effort. Obviously some of the flaws are due to the low budget nature of the movie, with Delpy having to put a lot of things together in editing to make them work. That’s the sort of thing you forgive with indies. The real problems lie with the storytelling, which at time is scattershot and unfocused. Delpy sets up her character as the narrator of the movie, even though the focus of the movie seems to be with Goldberg’s character, who, as an outsider, serves as the audience surrogate in the wacky Parisian adventures. I’m guessing time issues wouldn’t allow Goldberg to come back and record the narration, since he had a small window with which to shoot the movie (doing it as a favour for his friend Delpy). Instead, Delpy should’ve scrapped the narration altogether, as it adds little to the movie other than an excuse for her to try out some interesting shots, which also serve to create a scattered composition that makes the movie feel disorganized.
Which is the biggest problem of the movie. It feels like the work of a first timer, with more ideas than story, and not enough of a story to bring all the threads together. It’s a decent effort, but one that needed to be a more defined to really work. Some of the situations the couple find themselves in are fun, others are cliché. Some of the humour is really clever, some is ridiculous farce.
In all, it’s a decent effort by a first time director that I mostly enjoyed despite its flaws. It’s a charming little romantic comedy with affable leads and some laughs that ultimately doesn’t end like a typical romantic comedy. But, there isn’t much reason to recommend it to anyone who wasn’t already interested in seeing it.