New York, I Love You

Like, not Love

NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU (various). 103 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (November 27). For venues, trailers, and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN

Producer Emmanuel Benbihy imports the concept of his 2006 production Paris, I Love You across the Atlantic, assembling another platoon of international filmmakers in a distinctive metropolis.[rssbreak]

New York, I Love You is a pleasant enough diversion, though the usual rules of the omnibus film apply – some segments are stronger than others, and the short-film format doesn’t always suit a given director’s instincts.

For example, Shekhar Kapur’s tale of a despairing singer (Julie Christie) who bonds with a hunchbacked porter (Shia LaBeouf) at a Central Park West hotel is marred by his compulsion to punctuate Anthony Minghella’s slender script with pointless visual flourishes. And Brett Ratner’s story about a teenager (Anton Yelchin) who takes a wheelchair-bound hottie (Olivia Thirlby) to prom ends on a punchline that can only be described as ick-tastic.

But that’s how these things go. Endure the weaker pieces and you get to savour Fatih Akin’s minor-key episode about a painter (Ugur Yücel) trying to convince a shy herbalist (Shu Qi) to pose for him, and Natalie Portman’s placid study of a man (Cesar De León) and a little girl (Taylor Geare) walking together in Central Park.

And, of course, you get to look at Manhattan for a couple of hours. There are worse things in the world.

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