Rated R for language and sexual content, 103 minutes
"New York, I Love You": flat and uninteresting
Love happens in a variety of different ways, some good, some bad, which fittingly explains the new film "New York, I Love You." With 11 unrelated short films around 10 minutes by different directors and starring a wide gallery of actors, the film has a similar theme and structure as the 2006 film "Paris, je t'aime" ("Paris, I Love You") and produced by the same person, it should capture love happening against the backdrop of one of a famously romantic city. Instead, the intriguing premises is problematic, since the films aren't long enough (and some aren't that good) to have a big impact, and you end up with a messy but nice looking film but lacks sensuality.
Of the 11 shorts films, the more memorable ones include the one directed by Shekar Kapur ("Elizabeth") and starring Julie Christie and Shia LeBeouf and interestingly, an amusing one from Brett Ratner (yes, that Brett Ratner of the dreadful "Rush Hour" films) and starring Olivia Thirlby, Anton Yelchin and James Caan about a young boy (Yelchin) who gets quite a surprise with his prom date. And by the way, the one featuring and directed by Natalie Portman, is probably the worst one of the lot, a strange one about a woman's romance with a rabbi. The short segment featuring an annoying Ethan Hawke (but an amusing Maggie Q), would've been better had it been more substantial, which speaks to the film itself. And I was truly baffled by the odd segment featuring Orlando Bloom and Christina Ricci and turned off by the one with Bradley Cooper and Drea De Matteo.
Chris Cooper, Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Robin Wright Penn, Cloris Leachman, Eli Wallach, Andy Garcia, Justin Bartha and Blake Lively are the many other actors wasted in their segments, in mediocre films that don't have much to say or do. The premise, which worked OK with the aforementioned "Paris, I Love You" (and also featuring Portman), doesn't work as well here. Uninteresting, flat and unmemorable, it doesn't say much about relationships or love in general and worst of all, doesn't do New York City justice the way it should.