Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: New York I love You

New York, I Love YouSequel, of sorts, to 'Paris, je t'aime' (2006) New York I love You is essentially several short films. Each centers around the theme of love in the city. There's quite a large ensemble cast in this one, featuring the likes of James Caan, Natalie Portman, Shia LeBeouf, Orlando Bloom, Hayden Christensen, Ethan Hawke and a lot more.

There are 11 vignettes in this film that are loosely tied together by a few characters running through the background of each other's stories. Different directors and writers for each piece makes for a mishmash that is sometimes great but mostly incongruent in depth and style.

I understand what they were going for. A bunch of moments that are jumbled together to give the random feeling of a city. But the lack of anything approaching a flowing narrative or at the very least some kind of device to hold the stories together, just feels like sloppy film making. To give you an idea of how disjointed the pieces are from one another, I'll tell you that I briefly considered doing a By The Numbers on the movie as a whole, rating each piece and adding up the sum.

Which is not to say that it was all bad. Like a volume of short stories, there's invariably some you'll like and some you won't. A few of the stories are quite good and stop the film from being a total disaster. One segment in particular which featured Anton Yelchin (Charlie Bartlett, Star Trek) narrating his prom night, left me wishing I was watching an entire film based around his character. This actually made things worse for the rest of the shorts as the writing and the direction were fantastic, leaving it somewhat aliened from the rest of the film.

The film has many peaks and valleys where the directing is concerned. Some pieces are great and visually stunning, while many flounder in the fake kind of artsy I can't stand. Bizarrely enough, considering the encapsulated format, I found myself wishing they'd trimmed the movie down. There's a lot of unnecessary shots meant to give depth to the pieces. In reality this just made portions of the movie seem like it was made in film school.

I get that the makers wanted the feeling of moments passing in a city and for that they shunned any device to weave them together. But the result is like many parts to a car, but without a frame to hold them together. In a way I was reminded of an old movie called Tales of Manhattan (1942) that featured many different stories all connected by a tuxedo. It managed to be varied in its storytelling, with several beautiful and funny stories, while maintaining a functioning narrative.

New York I Love You, could have been good (even if as a rule I hate ensemble casts) but falls short due to its faulted base idea. With a few worthy pieces it's worth a glance to anyone who has a favorite star in it. Just keep the remote on hand so you can empty the blanks in the revolver.

Final rating: 3 out of 10


  1. Sometimes TS, I feel like you've lived twice as long as you really have. I so appreciate these well thought out reviews.

  2. I am glad you had to take one for the team because I certainly wasn't watching this. Romcoms are the lowest form of cinematic life. I would rather watch a film school student's final class project. I come by this attitude after seeing most of the romcom crap that came out in the 80s and 90s. I saw Summer Lovers THREE TIMES because I wanted to. As of 2000 I am proud to say that my romcom ban has stayed pure. Okay I did see Bounty Hunter but that was only to see if Gerald Butler would slap around Jennifer Anniston. I can be forgiven for that one. It's my 'Mulligan'.

  3. Cotton, Thanks, I feel twice as old sometimes. lol

    Cal, Personally, I don't inherently hate romcoms. They just need to be intelligent. I loved Love Actually, which is what I thought of when I was watching this disaster. But Love Actually, made sense and was sweet without being saccharine.

    As far as Jennifer Aniston is concerned... I'm actually writing up a review of a movie with her in it currently. I'm not exactly what you'd call a fan.

  4. Aw, Anton Yelchin! I like that guy. But yeah, I liked your review, too...sounds like an abysmal film, though.

  5. OK I looked it up on Netflix and am a bit conflicted ... to add to queue or not to to ad to queue. i like ethan hawke but detest shia ladouche.

  6. *add typing fast leads to typos

  7. I always have the remote in one hand and a revolver in the other. Doesn't everyone?

  8. I love that you loved Love Actually! :)

  9. I bought this movie thinking that it would have a Woody Allen feel to it, for some reason. Also because I often enjoy movies with many characters and crossing storylines. I could NOT get into this. I've tried starting it twice now. I will give it one more go but so far the first hour has not grabbed me much. It's a shame because it's a great cast and could have had amazing potential!

  10. I feel like I've seen this movie, but I remember nothing about it.... Maybe I should take that as a hint....


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