Getting heavy in the city of lights

For those who were unable to travel to Europe this summer, a trip to Tampa Theatre is recommended. 2 Days in Paris, a film playing there, provides an accurate and amusing glimpse into both a trip to Paris and a typical modern relationship.

Written, directed and produced by Julie Delpy, the beautiful French actress known for her role as Celine in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the film follows a couple through their two-day adventure in Paris.

The hip couple, whose interactions are the focus of the film, is made up of Marion, a French photographer with a sight disorder, played by Delpy, and Jack, her American interior-designer boyfriend, played by Adam Goldberg.

Marion and Jack decide to spend two days in Paris after a two-week trip to Venice – the “city where love is good” – before heading home to New York City. Unfortunately, Italy proved to be a misadventure full of bad food, stomach flu and constant trips to the bathroom.

The little time they explored Venice, including a gondola ride, was spent posing for photographs instead of actually enjoying the experience. Delpy poignantly explains this through her observation that “taking photographs makes you an observer. It takes you out of the moment.” Observations such as these, provided through Delpy’s narration, are one of the highlights of the flick, which is filmed in English and French with English subtitles.

Whether it be photographing naked men with helium balloons tied around their penises or giving the wrong directions to fellow Americans because they were wearing “Vote for Bush” T-shirts, it is the idiosyncrasies of Marion and Jack that make 2 Days in Paris worth watching.

The dialogue between the characters is believable – probably due to the fact that Delpy and Goldberg once dated in real-life. The insecurities of Jack and the promiscuousness of Marion create a dynamic perfect for a romantic comedy.

As with most films involving a trip to France, the usual clichés, such as the rudeness of the French, are present. However, the stereotypes are interesting because they come from Marion, who is French.

The mandatory shot of the Eiffel Tower is included, but 2 Days in Paris is not a film for those interested in the French scenery. This is a film about relationships, not about sightseeing. However, events typical to travelers such as crazy cabdrivers, trying to order food in another language and the fear of terrorists are present, resulting in Jack stating, “I hate Paris.”

Besides the insightful commentary by Delpy and the believability of the relationship between Marion and Jack, 2 Days in Paris is enjoyable for its cultural references, such as the photography of Nan Goldin, the small-world theory (collective dynamics of the small world) and the 343 bitches, a French feminist group that fought for abortion rights in the 1970s. Other highlights of the film include a schizophrenic fairy who hates fast food (but likes fire), fascist vaginas and the smallness of European condoms.