2 Days in Paris (2007)
Jack Has French Letters
This isn't Paris. This is hell - Jack
If you like movies which try to be different then you are sure to enjoy "2 Days in Paris" because it is different, offbeat and strange. But then if you don't the chances are you are going to possibly hate if not become bored very quickly because it is disjointed, strange, trying to be funny but isn't. You may even find it offensive in its stereotyping of the French being sex mad racists who discuss sex in a blasé manner. But there is a slight chance that some may enjoy a bit of it because "2 Days in Paris" is a culture clash comedy and if you can empathise with the character of Jack as he struggles being in Paris, not understanding the language and suspecting his girlfriend of flirting with old boyfriends then you may occasionally smile.
Having spent their holiday in Venice Jack (Adam Goldberg - Deja Vu) and Marion (Julie Delpy - The Hoax) head to Paris where they plan to spend two days with her family before heading back to New York. But for Jack it is 2 days of hell because not speaking or understanding French makes him paranoid that when Marion has a chat with her family and friends in French they are talking and laughing at him. Not only that with them repeatedly bumping into Marion's ex's Jack also becomes paranoid that she is carrying on with them in secret.
Now to be totally blunt I found 80% of "2 Days in Paris" to be boring and self indulgent almost to the point it almost feels like what you are watching isn't important. What I mean by that is we have a storyline about Jack and Marion spending time in Paris before flying back to New York and Jack finding it all very hard. He finds not being able to speak or understand French hard, he finds the culture difficult especially the food and he also finds it hard that they keep on meeting Marion's ex's all of which she is still on good terms with.
Now that sounds like a substantial storyline but a lot of what we watch is irrelevant from Marion arguing with racist taxi drivers to a party where a man strikes up a conversation about pubic hair. It almost seems like in trying to be different Julie Delpy, who wrote, directed, produced, edited and scored the movie has tried to chuck in plenty of quirky scenes which seem to have no real relation to the story or real life. Some may love the blatant sex talk but it all feels like it is trying too hard to the point it goes over the top to paint an extreme stereotype of a Frenchman being a racist into sex.
But there is the culture clash side which for me is the movie's saving grace because if you can empathize with the character of Jack and the isolation he feels then you will be amused. Now I know how that feels, so when Jack sits there around the family dinner table listening to others talk and laugh the fact he thinks they are laughing about him is so true. And when Marion starts chatting to an old friend who he discovers was a lover that feeling of suspicion is real as is the frustration of having to rely on others to get around the city because of the language barrier. Indeed in a scene where following a row, which is also realistic, Jack walks off the issue he has with ordering a meal whilst it may seem cliche is very real. It is very much this side of "2 Days in Paris" which for me made it watch able and amusing, much more so that all the forced humour surrounding sex and racism.
But even if you don't get or even enjoy "2 Days in Paris" it is hard not to enjoy Julie Delpy's performance because it is so natural to the point that it feels unscripted. There is a real ease to the way she plays the character of Marion especially as she has to deal with the neurotic Jack and his general dislike of anything out of his comfort zone. But it does also become very much a one woman movie because whilst I could empathize with the character of Jack it is also under developed and so leaves Adam Goldberg to at times struggle.
What this all boils down to is that if you love your movies mainstream then give "2 Days in Paris" a miss because it's not mainstream and definitely one for those who like their movies different. But if you have ever been in a relationship which leads to a culture clash then you may find part of it good fun, but only a part of it.
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