Thursday, September 13, 2007

Movies: 2 Days in Paris

Thanks to Julie Delpy's phenomenal screenplay and Jack Goldberg's brilliant performance, this is the funniest movie I've seen all year, and probably the best "romantic comedy" I've ever seen. I went by myself, late at night, and that didn't stop me from literally guffawing even though, amidst the rest of the audience's meager twitters, my laughing probably elicited more than a few WTF?s.

Delpy and Goldberg play Marion and Jack, a 30-something New York-based couple who have been together two years (practically impossible these days). They take a romantic vacation in Venice and, on the way back, stop in Paris for two days to visit the French Marion's parents. While Marion reconnects with her parents and old friends, Jack suffers from allergies, culture shock, and paranoia (perhaps grounded) that Marion has been cheating. Think of him as a more hard-core, virile version of Woody Allen, with tattoos. Think of her as a sexier and less grating version of the young Diane Keaton, in nerdy glasses that are somehow incredibly provocative.

The plot is simple, and much less interesting than the details over which the couple bicker (the photo, for example, that Marion takes of Jack, naked, with three helium balloons tied to his penis, and the fact that Jack finds an exact copy of the photo, only featuring a different man, in Marion's old room, and the way she justifies that it's a completely different photo because the balloons are of different colors). The brilliance is in the performances, particularly that of Delpy's father Albert as Marion's father Jeannot; he doesn't speak English and Jack doesn't speak French, and their uncomfortable exchanges over the topics of food and sex are absolutely thrilling, thanks to Delpy's expressive face and growls.

I read a review that gave away the ending as Marion and Jack deciding to split, but, while the ending is perhaps open to some interpretation (it's a great couple argument scene, by the way, brilliantly written, and very real), I left the theater certain that the couple stays together, and I'm generally not an optimist of that sort. And, considering how hard it is to maintain relationships at this age here in New York, that's not irrelevant.

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