The lives and loves of Paris are presented in 18 vignettes, each from different directors and performers. Contributing filmmakers include Alexander Payne, Tom Tykwer, Joel and Ethan Coen, Wes Craven, Gus Van Sant, Gurinder Chadha, Alfonso Cuaron and Gerard Depardieu, with performances by Natalie Portman, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Nick Nolte and Elijah Wood.
Big question: Can "Paris Je T'aime" ("Paris, I Love You") use this fragmented approach to create a unified celebration of the city?
Catch it: A multi-cultural collage of parental protection, fleeting crushes and swooning romance--highlighted by Sylvain Chomet's ("The Triplets of Belleville") mimes-in-love piece "Tour Eiffel"--"Paris Je T'aime" is a sumptuous portrait of falling in love for a minute or a lifetime. The team effort is justified because love means something different to everyone, and the film presents its many faces as if filtered through an iPod shuffle.
Skip it: If your pickup game needs work. Just because the "You must be tired because you've been running in my dreams all night" line works in Paris doesn't mean it will here.
Bottom line: The segments aren't arranged in an order to give the movie any shape, and director Nobuhiro Suwa's "Place des Victoires" about a woman (Juliette Binoche) mourning her dead son while hallucinating a cowboy (Willem Dafoe) is by far the weakest entry. Those are small issues in a wonderful tribute to the land of romantic possibility, the wreckage love causes and the things people do just for the chance at it.
Bonus: Something to think about: In Craven's offering, "Pere-Lachaise," a couple says people should only get married if they know when the other person is lying. Does that apply to faking it in bed?
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
'Paris Je T'aime'
Directed by Olivier Assayas, Frederic Auburtin and Gerard Depardieu, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Joel and Ethan Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravanese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydes, Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant. In French, with English subtitles. A First Look Pictures release; opens Friday. Running time: 2:00. MPAA rated R (for language and brief drug use).
Marianne - Marianne Faithfull
The Tourist - Steve Buscemi
The Husband - Sergio Castellitto
Suzanne - Juliet Binoche
Vincent - Nick Nolte
Bob - Bob HoskinsCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times