2 Days in Paris

2 Days in Paris ★★½

[47]

There needs to be a word for when someone who writes and directs a film also decides to act in said film wherein they end up being the worst thing about it. Woody Allen is a repeat offender, Kevin Smith and Tarantino are certified professionals, Eastwood and Fassbinder have constantly toed the line, and now Julie Delpy joins the club unanimously. Found this neigh insufferable for however many minutes, essentially up until Marion’s first ex-beau is introduced. If it weren’t for the teeny-tiny moments of comedic reprieve—e.g. Jack’s reaction to the rabbit dinner, ”Oh, we’re eating the rabbit’s food, too,” as he’s offered a carrot—I’d have bailed. And looking back, 99% of my aversion was due to either Delpy’s characters prophesizing - she is trying waaaay too hard to give herself bomb-dropping, insightful nuggets here and sounds oddly self-conscious and mechanical when regurgitating any of them - or the stop-and-go voiceover punctuations that suffer from the same problem, only with an added, unnecessary omniscience. Something tells me the kink arises from, for whatever reason, her directorial credit, because things weren’t nearly as problematic (or even problematic at all) in e.g. BEFORE SUNRISE or SUNSET or (especially) MIDNIGHT, and she co-wrote two of those. And she’s equally fantastic in movies where she strictly acts, e.g. THREE COLORS: WHITE, or hell, even WIENER-DOG, in which she was one of the very few bright spots. I eventually did a supermassive about-face with this - again, right around the time Delpy’s promiscuity and past ghosts start becoming prevalent - and went from hating it intensely to enjoying it almost begrudgingly. I have Adam Goldberg to thank for that, as his self-deprecating neurosis and fidgety, fish-out-of-water persona was wholly responsible for turning this inevitable train-wreck around. Half of the time I caught myself missing subtitles as I stared at Goldberg’s perplexed expression in the background, head bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball as Delpy and [random ex-boyfriend/man] would be making fast and furious exchanges in French. I give Delpy credit, too, for the content of her screenplay at least; the jealousy, the prying, the wanting-to-know-but-not-really-wanting-to-know is scathingly real and pragmatic, albeit childish, though that’s how these things tend to be until we truly, emotionally “grow up.” But try to imagine this without the VO slideshows and with, say, Juliette Binoche as Marion. That might be a great film. (Or at least a pretty good one.)

Tony liked this review