Thursday, April 8, 2010

Where do you love: New York or Paris?

I loved Paris, Je T'aime (Paris, I love you) when I saw it on DVD a few years ago. Here is a short review I did back then. So when the newer version, New York, I Love You, was made it put into sharper focus, what I particularly liked about the Parisian version that didn't come through in New York. First, the main focus of the first movie is the city of Paris. Every short story takes place in a different part of Paris, famous or not, but dramatically Paris. The city itself is the character that exists in each story (they embraced the cliche!). This was not true for New York. Yes, they had Coney Island and taxi cabs and a scene in Central Park, and the diamond district. But that was about all that make it specifically NYC. The diversity of people could have been described as typically NYC, but that's a stretch. Second, there just weren't as many stories. Paris had about 15 different short stories, with some actors crossing over a tiny bit. New York has about 6 different stories, so there is a lot less to love (though it's only 15 minutes shorter). And third, the stories weren't self-contained moments, done when they're done. In Paris, each story could have been a short film unto itself; each story begins and ends, and along with the story that was told, you were acutely aware it takes place in Paris. In New York, each story is drawn out into small bits that interweave, though aren't necessarily related. I liked the format for Paris Je T'aime much better. There were a few stories in NYC that I did like - Bradley Cooper jumping into random cabs that would become other stories was kind of a funny bit that linked the stories. And I loved Cloris Leachman and Eli Wallach walking to Coney Island chatting away.  Natalie Portman as a devout Jewish woman who works in the diamond district and is about to get married and disappear into the culture was interesting, but didn't really go anywhere. Overall, it definitely didn't live up to Paris, but New York, I Love You could stand on it own as a decent film. 3 of 5 stars/lambs (4.5 for Paris)


Rachel said...

I felt the exact same way. I think is summed them up in my double review as the love in and for Paris felt genuine while in New York it felt like a gimmick. But you hit the nail on the head with New York's many problems.

Fletch said...

Yeah, from everything I've heard, I won't like NY nearly as much as I liked Paris. Why did they mess with the format? Part of the brilliance of Paris was the structure of it, and the fact that they were all self-contained films. And NY as a city is set up so perfectly to have a similar structure (Queens, Harlem, the Bronx, Coney, Staten Island, Greenwich Village, etc.).

I might never watch this one.