The latest in a series of 'Cities of Love' movies that doesn't do New York proud, despite the all-star cast.
One of the more annoying movie franchises is the "Cities of Love" series concocted by producer Emmanuel Benbihy. First there was "Paris, Je t'Aime," and now "New York, I Love You." On deck is Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Jerusalem, and Mumbai (Bombay). The idea behind these films is to set 10 or so accomplished directors loose in the chosen city for a two-day shoot followed by a one-week edit. The resulting assemblage of sequences, vaguely interconnected and sort of romantic, is supposed to evoke the soul of the city. Sounds good in theory, and, in fact, I enjoyed swatches of "Paris." But "New York" doesn't evoke New York and its vignettes are trite – with one exception, a touching sequence directed by Mira Nair with Natalie Portman as a Hasidic bride and Irrfan Khan as a Jain diamond merchant. The combined cast, which includes, among others, Julie Christie, John Hurt, Shia LaBeouf, Andy Garcia, Bradley Cooper, and Ethan Hawke, confirms an old axiom of mine: All-star casts rarely result in four-star movies. Grade: C- (Rated R for language and sexual content.)