I actually did spend two days in Paris, back in August 2004, and did all the touristy things one could do in those short 48 hours, like visit the unmissable landmarks such as Le Tour Eiffel, visited babes Mona Lisa and Venus at the Louvre, tried to look for the hunchback at Notre Dame, paid my respects at Napoleon's casket, and ended the night partying after a dinner watching a French revue.
But no, I didn't have a Julie Delpy to romance, or to hang out with. Written and directed (and edited!) by Julie Delpy, comparisons to the Richard Linklater twin combo Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are inevitable, because firstly, they star Delpy, and secondly, the charaters hit off into interesting chatter that grabs our attention, albeit this one takes place over a longer period of reel time over 48 hours versus the combined 24 hours that the Before movies offered. But before you shout "rip off" and discredit Delpy's effort as another Linklater clone, I can safely say there are distinct differences between the movies, and that while Linklater's had a kind of dreamy romanticism to his, Delphy's 2 Days in Parissomehow had a more realistic, grittier, down to earth look and feel (no offense to Linklater, whose movies I mentioned I just adore too), tackling a key issue in relationship, and that's honesty.
In fact, you'd wonder if honesty (100% no holds barred revelations) can offer you less headache, particularly when your partner has to discover some parts of you that you want hidden away, either for reasons of being ashamed, or just because you want to protect him/her from possible hurt when they find out the truth. Truth usually has a funny way of getting back at you, in presenting themselves usually at the less than ideal situations, open to being misconstrued, and misunderstood. Kind of having a negative vibe to it all, doesn't it?
Adam Goldberg plays Jack, who's into a two year relationship with Delpy's Marion. While enjoying a whirlwind holiday in Europe, they decided to make a pit stop in Paris to visit Mario's folks Anna and Jeannot (Marie Pillet and Albert Delpy, Julie Delpy's real life parents playing her reel ones in the movie), before flying back home to New York. That's the basic premise, with Jack being brought around Paris by Marion, as well as to catch up (or rather providing the opportunity) with Marion's friends, which inevitably involves ex-boyfriends. While at first being quite magnanimous, Jack will confront his fears and ego-busting situations when he starts to realize in his own warped perception that Marion may well be the village bicycle, having ridden with/on/by every male they come into contact with.
I never thought I'd laugh my way through the movie, as from the get go, 2 Days in Paris contains extremely witty dialogue in rapid fire, and almost every character gets into the act, either intentionally (like Jack and his constant sarcasm), or through various situations the couple get into. Cab rides aren't like Linklater's Before Sunset where the lovebirds take the time to understand each other, gaze and whisper sweet nothings. Cab rides here means opportunity for insane dialogue, insults, and even being hit upon! It was so much fun that I'd actually wanted the couple to take more cab rides. Bringing on the laughs too was Marion's/Delpy's dad, a Frenchman who cannot speak English, which provides cross-cultural / language barrier comedy with Goldberg's Jack, and being the old man that he is, peppers his conversations and actions with so much sexual innuendo it'll probably make you blush. That scene in the art gallery is just to die for, if you pay close attention to the art pieces. Dad definitely stole the show each time he appeared on screen.
But fun and laughter aside, this movie as it turns out, is a very keen, and introspective look at modern day love and relationships. That voiceover by Delpy towards the end, somehow struck a bell within me, and I'd think most of us who have been hurt in the same way, may share the same thoughts too. And for that bit of sincerity and recognition of a probable perennial issue of the cycle of love-lost-found-is-he/she-the-one-pondering, this Julie Deply movie is a definite winner. Kudos too to Adam Goldberg for being a likeable unlikeable fella providing ample, believable repartee to carry the movie through. Highly recommended, don't miss this movie! And book your tickets early too, as it has been playing to full houses!