From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
“New York, I Love You”
Like a patchwork quilt made by a diverse group of artisans, the cinematic pastiche “New York, I Love You” features vivid, well-crafted segments stitched together with unremarkable scraps.
Following the 2006 collaboration “Paris, je t’aime,” it is the second anthology film in the planned “Cities of Love” series exploring romance and devotion in the world’s metropolises. Rio, Shanghai and Mumbai are reportedly set to get similar cinematic treatments.
“New York, I Love You” brings together an eclectic set of directors and big-name stars to create short films about love in various recognizable Big Apple locales. Each short was shot in two days and lasts mere minutes, and their divergent characters are often linked by random encounters on street corners, in taxi cabs and in shops around the bustling city.
The vignettes range from Allen Hughes’ sexy story of a pair of barflies (Bradley Cooper, Drea de Matteo) mulling a possible reunion to Joshua Marston’s sweet tale of a bickering couple (Cloris Leachman, Eli Wallach) celebrating their 63rd anniversary with a walk to Brighton Beach.
Surprisingly, Brett Ratner contributes one of the most memorable and uproarious yarns, about a high school senior (Anton Yelchin) who is dumped on the eve of prom. The local druggist (James Caan) convinces the teen to take his daughter (Olivia Thirlby), who uses a wheelchair. The twist ending and Yelchin’s wry narration make the story laugh-out-loud funny.
Unfortunately, not all the shorts make a good impression. Chinese helmer Jiang Wen’s opening segment starring Hayden Christensen and Andy Garcia as pickpockets vying for the same girl (Rachel Bilson) gets the collection off to an uninspired start. And Japanese director Shunji Iwai fails to put a satisfying conclusion on his story of a phone romance between a frustrated film composer (Orlando Bloom) and a production assistant (Christina Ricci).
DVD features: Five director interviews and two bonus segments, including Scarlett Johansson’s lackluster directorial debut.