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6 Degrees Entertainment

'New York, I Love You'
(Natalie Portman, Blake Lively, Julie Christie, Christina Ricci, Ethan Hawke, et al / DVD / R / (2009) 2010 / Vivendi Entertainment)

Overview: A companion piece to 'Paris, je t'aime,' this valentine to New York cleverly blends nearly a dozen love stories, each presented by a different filmmaker. From Central Park to Brooklyn and Queens, each tale features the Big Apple as a central character.

DVD: Eleven directors and no fewer than 16 screenwriters contributed to this questionable showing. I mean, I like the idea of the film more than the film itself; the batting average with the Paris project was a good deal higher. Nonetheless “New York, I Love You” provides some compensatory satisfactions, thanks mostly to the actors, as they make the most of a series of pencil sketches.

And so, to take just a handful and explore: In Jiang Wen's amusing portion, two fast-talking thieves (Andy Garcia and Hayden Christensen) vie for the same babe. In Mira Nair's earnest one, a young Hasidic bride (Natalie Portman) pines for the Jain (Irrfan Khan) who sells her diamonds. Portman also directs a segment in which a little girl (Taylor Geare) and a man (Carlos Acosta) spend a day in the park.

In Shunji Iwai's, a film composer (Orlando Bloom) confides on the phone to a woman he's never met. And in Brett Ratner's, a fresh-faced 17-year-old (Anton Yelchin) escorts his prom date: a girl in a wheelchair (Olivia Thirlby), the daughter of a gruff old pharmacist (James Caan).

And, weaving it all together, sort of, is Randy Balsmeyer's meandering study of a video artist (Emilie Ohana) who bops around the city with her camera. This isn't a realistic portrait of Big Apple romance. This is a valentine from a band of fervid international suitors. If nothing else, this underwhelming effort proves that a director needs to understand the city before he or she can claim to love it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Bonus Segments
5 Director Interviews
Theatrical Trailer