I probably should’ve liked Paris, je t’aime. The few enough people who managed to see the movie — a series of short films about love in Paris clumsily strung together — seemed to like it. It was well reviewed. And it was chock full of great directors — Tom Twyker, the Coen Brothers, Wes Craven, and Alfonso Cuarón, among others — and a cool cast, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Steve Buscemi, Nick Nolte, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Elijah Wood, Emily Mortimer, and Natalie Portman, to name just a few. But it fell flat for me. I couldn’t even muster up a review. The short story format doesn’t work any better for me on screen as it does on paper. Not even the vampire story worked for me.
Nevertheless, the same producer is back with a follow-up, I Love You, New York, with the same conceit: Several short films about love in New York City. The directors aren’t as top notch — Bret Ratner is among them, as is Natalie Portman (as a director and a star), as well as Mira Nair, and Allen Hughes. The cast is all over the place: Shia LaBeouf, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Orlando Bloom, Hayden Christensen, Robin Wright Penn, Olivia Thirlby, Christina Ricci, Blake Lively, and a few others. Still, it feels like a movie they are selling on the basis of the cast, and since there’s no through line to the anthology, a trailer is difficult to put together. Mostly, it’s an opportunity to say: Ooooh. Ooh. I know that guy. And her! I like him! But beyond the recognition factor, there’s nothing particularly compelling here. Like most literary anthologies, I suspect it’s the worst work of great authors and the best work of bad authors.