2 Days in Paris
Diane and Woody World
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
"There is something terrible about two human beings who love each other and can find neither the means or the time to let the other know, who wait until some misfortune or disagreement extorts an affirmation of affection." Sigmund Freud
I'll even enjoy the sappy Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn because Americans abroad in romantic tangles interest me. Therefore, Julie Delpy's French-American couple in 2 Nights in Paris is a lock to get my attention. She succeeds with European-style close ups, long takes, and constant dialogue, and the hint that the couple may not survive this attempt to rekindle their relationship.
Marion (Delpy) and Jack (Adam Goldberg), photographer and interior designer respectively, have had a romance for two years, she still randy even without him and he appropriately jealous at her flirtations. In her flat in Paris, right above her parents' (played engagingly by Delpy's parents), the couple argue, go to art openings, and endure her restless spirit, roving eye, and typically relentless thoughts about their relationship.
While I do love the genre, and this is a fine example, Delpy's previous Before Sunset, which she wrote and starred in with direction from Richard Linklater, has a subtler touch and a spontaneity (no small help from the bright Ethan Hawke) that kept the romantic spirit of Paris while acknowledging the terminal nature of their love (same can be said for the prequel, Before Sunrise). 2 Nights in Paris, on the other hand, seems determined to have Delpy channel Diane Keaton in her days with Woody Allen and for both principals to rapid-fire their repartee into a gloomy, fatalistic scenario that depresses more than uplifts.
Delpy creates a naturalistic little world of eccentric characters and universal challenges for lovers. I just wish they were more likeable and less like Annie Hall understudies.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com