2 DAYS IN PARIS directed by Julie Delpy (France/Germany,2007)
When I first came to live and work in Italy, I barely spoke a word of the language and frequently felt linguistically marooned and occasionally paranoid (what are they saying about me?).
I can therefore fully sympathise with the plight of Jack (Adam Goldberg) in this movie. We see him dragged around Paris by his French-born girlfriend getting more and more frustrated.
Fortunately, I didn’t have a partner like Julie Delpy who chats, argues and rants yet rarely bothers to translate for the confused Jack.
Delpy plays Marion in what you assume is a largely autobiographical role; she even gets her own mom and dad play her character’s parents.
She also wrote and directed a movie which presents the French in such an unfavourable light that I imagine she’s not a hot favourite with her real-life former neighbours.
Marion and Jack are on a short stopover in Paris after a holiday in Venice prior to returning home to New York where she is a photographer and he is an interior designer.
They encounter racist taxi drivers, a creepy stalker on the underground plus Marion’s relatives, so-called friends and numerous ex-boyfriends are all either sex-obsessed, smug or lacking in basic social graces. On top of this, the food they eat is a vegetarian’s nightmare (and would probably turn the stomach of even the most dedicated carnivore). Jack finds solace in a fast-food restaurant where, stretching the bounds of credibility, he is served by a young woman who doesn’t understand a word of English. This is Paris, remember; not some French backwater.
All these crass stereotypes wouldn’t matter if the film was funny but , while Jack has a few good one-liners, his neurotic tendencies mean that he mostly comes over like Woody Allen with tattoos.
As their relationship teeters on the brink of break-up we end with a dreaded voiceover in lieu of any meaningful dialogue.
The message, if at this point you care, boils down to the fact that openness and honesty are essential in any relationship.
If you want to sit through 96 minutes of a second-rate rom-com to be told this, be my guest.
I read that there is now a sequel – 2 Days in New York. Heaven help us!