Billed as a “collective feature film,” New York, I Love You is the second in the “Cities of Love” series, an idea that has so far proved better in theory than execution. As with its predecessor, Paris je t’aime, there are hits and misses. Producer Emmanuel Benbihy decreed that each of the 11 segments be set in a specific neighborhood, but only a few manage to capture the spirit of their surroundings. The duds, like Jiang Wen’s pickpocket three-way with Hayden Christensen, Andy Garcia, and Rachel Bilson, and Mira Nair’s corny collision between Natalie Portman and Irrfan Khan, have a canned, flattened quality that drags the collective down. Orlando Bloom has some fun with the lonely freelance life, greasing up to play a composer-for-hire with an impossible client, and Ethan Hawke and Maggie Q reimagine the dynamic of the street-corner pick-up. But the most effective entries—by Allen Hughes (Bradley Cooper and Drea de Matteo navigate their found chemistry), Fatih Akin (Ugur Yücel and Shu Qi reach out, but can’t quite connect), and Joshua Marston (Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman shuffle off to Coney Island)—bring both bitter and sweet to their snapshots of this city’s most cherished and elusive quality: intimacy.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 13, 2009