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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » May 28, 2008
Film review
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2 Days in Paris
May 28, 2008 By Witold Żygulski   
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Actress Julie Delpy (Three Colors: White, Broken Flowers, Killing Zoe) is no stranger to directing. 2 Days in Paris is her fourth movie as director and this time she has also written the script, edited the film, written the score and co-produced the movie. Naturally, she is the leading female character.

She plays Marion, a 35-year-old French woman who lives in New York City with her 35-year-old American boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg-Deja Vu, A Beautiful Mind, Zodiac). The two have just decided to breathe some fresh air into their two-year relationship by taking a trip to Europe. After two weeks in Venice they arrive in Paris, where Jack meets his girlfriend's parents, who don't speak any English, and discovers the city seems to be populated by Marion's ex-boyfriends, with whom she is on more than friendly terms. What was supposed to be a pleasant vacation turns into a serious test of the pair's relationship. In fact it's immediately clear that the two are less than a perfect match.

A string of coincidental and less coincidental meetings with friends of Marion's soon becomes an ordeal for Jack. It gets worse as the couple mainly use taxis to move around Paris and all five taxi drivers turn out to be emotionally unstable to one degree or another. They range from a harmless music fan to a dog lover, a pushy womanizer, and a racist with fascist inclinations.

The ad campaign for the movie hinted at a Woody Allenesque feel to the film and this is true up to a point. As soon as the movie starts, you realize Marion and Jack are neurotics full of all kinds of phobias and complexes. Marion has been acting strange ever since she was a child, when, for example, she used to hear snail and ants talk. Instead of feeding the girl a handful of prescription pills, her mother bought her a Polaroid camera and encouraged Marion to take photos of her visions; an attitude that set Marion on the path to becoming a photographer, despite suffering a genetic eye disorder. As an adult we see her break into tears after she reads an article on the impact the use of toilet paper by women has on rain forest devastation.

Jack is more than a match for her in terms of neuroses. With every inch of his body tattooed, dressed like a slob and unshaven, he looks an unlikely interior designer, which is his job. He suffers from a constant fear of terrorist attacks and is a notorious hypochondriac.

The biggest letdown of the movie is the relentless and less than subtle focus on the characters' sex life. No matter whether they've known each other for 10 years or five minutes, the characters only take a minute to start talking about their sexual preferences and experiences, in a style suited to a high school bathroom. Everything revolves around this topic, irrespective of the generation involved. Marion's father opens an exhibition of pornographic drawings and her mother tells Jack about her affair with Jim Morrison. But whenever the characters quit talking about sex, things actually get really funny. The audience explodes in laughter during a scene with a group of American "code breakers" who have come to Paris on a The Da Vinci Code theme trip, or when police officers stop Jack for supposedly stealing an old French lady's purse. A dinner conversation over a main course of rabbit is a lot of fun too, and check out Daniel Bruhl (memorable as Alex in the German box-office success Goodbye, Lenin!) who puts in a delightful cameo as a gay eco-terrorist setting fire to fast-food joints.
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