Thursday, August 23, 2007

"2 Days in Paris"

What happens when a quintessential New York Jew meets the family of his non-Jewish girlfriend? I have no idea, it's not as if any movies have been made about such a situation. So it's a good thing Julie Delpy had the courage to cover this uncharted territory. Still, it is a good movie, and here's why. In other words, spoilers below.

"2 Days in Paris" has been compared with "Annie Hall," which is inevitable. It is an adult love story, not in the racy sense but in that the protagonists have romantic baggage. Heaps of it. Marion's many (well, not that many) exes are a constant reminder not so much that she 'slept around,' as Jack would have it, but that she is 35. At 35, a boyfriend of two years can more reasonably be referred to as a "new boyfriend," as Jack is by another character. The specificity is an interesting choice, since romantic comedies generally come in three ages, high school, marriage-age, and cutesy elderly, without much acknowledgment of the differences between 21 and 40. Plus, the man and woman are the same age, which is not the case in, say, "Lost in Translation." In other twists, the 'Jew' is not actually Jewish, nor is the actor portraying him, whose name (Adam Goldberg) and persona might throw you off. The movie deals with the confusion of a Jewish-looking American in Paris quite well, with one of Marion's exes cheerily telling Jack at a party that it's not as if Hitler would have spared him, and then later on, when he gets accidentally arrested by the Paris police after a blonde Frenchwoman tells them that he is the Arab who stole her purse. The movie shows how xenophobia runs in all directions--Jack detests fat, Bush-supporting American tourists; Marion's father is convinced that Jack, as an American, is surely illiterate; and it is never clear if we are supposed to sympathize more with Marion for having to deal with Jack's Francophobia or with Jack who is confronted with a country where, as Marion explains in possible jest, there are no plumbers.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Bof. I was disappointed, I thought there were way too many pointless "scènes de couple" -- we get the point, after two or three.