Woody Allen lookalike is surprisingly funny

PUBLISHED: 16:05 06 September 2007 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 September 2010

TWO days in paris (15) Director Julie Delpy Starring Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg, Daniel Bruhl, Marie Pillet, Albert Delpy, Aleksia Landeau. 96 mins. Three star rating After a decade and a half of symbolising that enigmatic yet feisty vision of French fe

TWO days in paris (15) Director Julie Delpy Starring Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg, Daniel Bruhl, Marie Pillet, Albert Delpy, Aleksia Landeau. 96 mins.

Three star rating

After a decade and a half of symbolising that enigmatic yet feisty vision of French femininity, who'd have thought that for her first film as director Julie Delpy would choose to make a Woody Allen film - and a surprisingly funny one at that.

Co-star Goldberg may have tattoos sprayed across his buff physique but he's playing a New York neurotic with the comic delivery of a man two/thirds his size, while Delpy herself is just a La Di Da away from being Annie Hall.

There's an initial scepticism but the script is littered with sharp one-liners. And soon you are laughing with the same delighted surprise you might at finding a decent sitcom on BBC 3.

Delpy's script has a transatlantic couple, Jack and Marion, stopping off to see her parents in Paris after a not entirely successful romantic break in Venice.

Jack's problems with the language barrier rapidly escalate when it appears that Paris is filled with her ex-boyfriends. As much of it concerns an American male and a French female wandering around Paris talking, there are obvious parallels with one of Delpy's most famous roles in the films Before Sunset.

Her relationship with Goldberg is not dissimilar to that with Hawke in the earlier film; neither character is that likeable but the interaction between them is truthful enough to perk our interest.

Starring, writing, directing and doing the theme tune is a massive undertaking and the film has its flaws. Even at an hour and a half it feels too long. It doesn't really go anywhere and the ending seems to have been hastily slapped together once it became clear that the original one just wasn't working. I also wonder if audiences are going to warm to Goldberg - an adept comic performer but maybe not a charmer.

Mostly though, it's a success. Americans abroad, the French and sex are all easy comic targets but still worth the effort. Like the best Woody Allens, the serious themes are expressed in the one-liners and it makes some good points about the cultural divide and jealousy.

It's been so long since we've had a good Allen comedy that a decent imitation is to be welcomed.

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