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Two Days in Paris
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Jack and Marion have just gotten back from a short vacation in Venice and have stopped off in Paris, on their way to New York, where they live now, but Paris is where Marion grew up and her parents still live; she keeps an apartment above theirs. She is Julie Delpy, the actress you'll remember from "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" when she starred with Ethan Hawke. He is Adam Goldberg, whom you won't remember at all because he's just been in a few television shows. Delpy has written, directed, produced, edited and even did the music for "Two Days in Paris," and she wants to show Jack everything about her own city.
The vacation didn't go very well; Jack had diarrhea the whole time and insisted on taking a thousand pictures of the most photographed city in the world, though Marion was in fact the photographer and Jack is an interior designer. But now they have two days in Paris, and Jack is really a pain in the ass with his migraines and general hypochondria. On the other hand, Marion keeps running into old boyfriends, which Jack doesn't respond to very well; at one point she even says to Jack, "Look, I'm in my thirties; you knew I wasn't a virgin when we met." That's not much comfort to Jack, who's the most insecure New Yorker imaginable.
Her parents (Delpy's real parents, both of them actors) are lovely to Jack; her father wants to give him the head (and eyes) of the rabbit he's cooked for dinner. Her mother only wants to wash and iron all his clothes, including his jeans. Her father has a gallery opening of his paintings that evening - mostly pornographic art - and then they go to a party, where Marion runs into even more old boyfriends.
There's a running gag in the film: Wherever they go they take taxis, and Marion finds a way to get under each cab driver's skin; first there's the fascist anti-immigrant, antisemitic one, then an Arab who says he'll make a baby inside her anytime she likes, and so on. She even runs into an old boyfriend at a restaurant whom she loudly accuses of going to Thailand and sleeping with 12-year-old girls. In other words, everything is going to pot as far as Marion and Jack are concerned, and both of them know it but are afraid to acknowledge it out loud.
Delpy, who went to NYU film school and speaks English perfectly, turns out to be a wonderful writer and director as well as a delicious actor. Unlike Sarah Polley, who showed us in "Away From Her" that she has trouble casting and has no imagination as a director, Delpy is absolutely secure in her writing, directing and acting. "Two Days in Paris" brings us into the lives of her couple with no self-consciousness and an expert's skill at handling all her characters. The film is out on DVD now and will make for a lovely evening's viewing.
3/18.08 <! new pasted review ends on line above>