We See Chick Flicks: New York, I Love You

Starring Natalie Portman, Rachel Bilson, Hayden Christensen, Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Bradley Cooper, Ethan Hawke, and more
Directed by Faith Akin, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, Brett Ratner, and more
Written by Joshua Marston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Minghella, Jeff Nathanson, and more

I have been waiting for “New York, I Love You” ever since the trailer was released way back in Aug. 2008, so, of course, I went to see it the weekend it finally came out — just eight months after its originally scheduled release date. I saw “Paris, Je t’aime,” the 2006 film “New York, I Love You” emulates, while in Paris visiting my sister, who was studying abroad. Even though there were no subtitles and my French was a little rusty, the 18 vignettes stole my heart. After watching them, I felt I understood a lot more about Paris, the different neighborhoods, and the wide range of people who call that city home. And, even if I didn’t like every short story-like segment (I was not into the weird vampire-themed story starring Elijah Wood), I knew another one, from a different director, would begin in a matter of minutes.

“New York, I Love You” tried to take the same concept of telling different people’s love stories, but they complicated it by trying to make them all relate to one another. While each story was directed by a different person, I would never have known had I not read that, since the stories overlapped and some characters appeared in more than one storyline. And because they were all crudely tied together, none of the characters’ stories were completely told. I didn’t feel as though the movie shared any of my great city’s secrets. Even while characters said lines like, “Anything can happen in this city,” that feeling didn’t come through. Plus, a lot of the characters were white and on the wealthier side, leaving much of New York’s population — really, the heart and soul of the city — unrepresented.

There were some bright spots, however, namely a prom story starring Olivia Thirlby and Anton Yelchin and directed by Brett Ratner that was sweet and surprising, and the tale of a couple (played by Cloris Leachman and Eli Wallach) who celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary by strolling along Coney Island’s boardwalk with great difficulty, a lot of bickering, and the help of a cane.

While this iteration of the city-love-story concept didn’t pan out as well as I would have liked, I’m hopeful for the next installment, “Shanghai, I Love You,” which is set for a 2011 release. Who knows, maybe I didn’t feel “New York, I Love You”‘s magic because I get to experience it firsthand every single day.