I had high hopes for New York, I Love You. My friends know what kinds of movies I fall for easily, and this is it: pretty people, New York City, romance, set in autumn, bourgeouis pretension. I eat it up: You’ve Got Mail, As Good as it Gets, Auntie Mame, All About Eve, the list goes on and on, some are classic, some are good, some are bad. I love it all.
But I found New York, I Love You a bit disappointing. It does everything right visually, and looks as romantic as it should. But it also panders. Let’s turbo review:
Good: The movie tries to unite the disparate sequences, having characters from different directors cross paths, making it more than a mere collection of sorts.
Bad: Those sequences do not lead anywhere. No plot, no point, or at least no point in connecting the films.
Good: Pretty people.
Bad: Pretty people who almost all live or go to Upper/Lower Manhattan, only a sprinkle in Queens and Brooklyn. No Harlem. No Bronx.
Bad: Pretty people most of whose lives aren’t terribly interesting.
Bad: Pretty people who are mostly white, with a couple Chinese. One was Cuban, in the least interesting segment. No other black or Latino people in New York?!
Good: Numerous characters who hail from outside the United States.
Good: Lots of meet-cute stories.
Bad: Lots of meet-cute stories.
Good: Well-directed sequences; Mira Nair, Wen Jiang, Shunji Iwai.
Bad: The overused conceit of two smokers who meet on the sidewalk; sorry, Yvan Attal! Anyway, who smokes in New York anymore?
Good: The artsy, oblique sequence by Shekhar Kapur.
Really Bad: No gays! Are there no gays in New York?!!!!
New York, I Love You is mostly pleasurable and sophisticated, certainly more curated and conscientiously produced than Paris, Je T’Aime. But it lacks the diversity of genre and narrative seen in Paris, and it doesn’t leave you with strong feelings, neither amorous nor unsettling.