Eye For Film >> Movies >> 2 Days In New York (2011) Film Review
2 Days In New York
Reviewed by: Owen Van Spall
Julie Delpy brings the family over for a visit in her follow up her well received 2007 smart comedy 2 Days in Paris. That prequel film saw Deply do triple duty as writer, director, and star of the romantic comedy, in which French photographer Marion (Delpy) and American interior designer Jack (Adam Goldberg) made a quick stop in Paris to visit Marion's parents and pick up the cat before heading back to New York. Much of the laughter came from watching Goldberg and Delpy deal not only with their own WASPish and very New York neuroses, but also Marion's eccentric former "revolutionary" parents, ex-lovers, and sexually blunt friends friends that seemed to lurk around every corner. It was likeable, gentle, and good to look at.
2 Days in New York advances Marion's situation by roughly the same number of years as the gaps between the two films releases. A few things have changed. Marion has now left Jack - seemingly the two weren't due such a happy ending as the previous film suggested. Living in a New York brownstone and working as a slightly highly-strung artist and photographer with a high-concept show in the works, Marion and her daughter now cohabitate with new lover Mingus (Chris Rock) and his child from a former relationship. Mingus runs a liberal radio talk show downtown and in his spare time ruminates on his desires and doubts with a lifesize cardboard cut-out of Obama. All seems (mostly) well. Unlike the last film, this time it is the French who drop in and set off the culture clash hand grenades in this oasis of calm.
Delpy's father, Albert Delpy, returns as the (exaggerated?) fictionalised version of himself (both of her parents featured in the original) dropping in to pay his daughter and grandchild a visit. To Marion's horror, her highly sexed and extraordinarily unsubtle sister Rose (Alexia Landeau) and her politically incorrect and massively stoned boyfriend Manu (Alex Nahon) have also invited themselves along.
Marion and Mingus' New York liberal paradise is soon beset by a an orgy of social embarrassments. Albert is arrested at customs along with Manu for smuggling 14 cheeses about his person. Manu seems to have confused downtown New York for the film New Jack City given his bizarre hip hop affectations, staggering racial faux pas when around Afro Americans, and constant desire to smoke up. Rose and Marion turn every dinner table gathering into a screeching fest. As Mingus worries he maybe doesn't know Marion half as well as he thought, Marion herself begins to doubt not only her art career but her choices so far.
This was clearly a family affair for Delpy and a labour of love, but this film inevitably is taking a risk reheating the five-year-old meal that was 2 Days in Paris. In fact, the formula is so similar you might well forget which film you are watching at certain points. While there are some genuinely funny moments and smart intellectual observations about couples and their choices and compromises, too often the script feels tired and predictable, relying far too often on Delpy's father's wide eyed, roly-poly blunt-talking libertine act or some very trite culture clash moments (particularly with Manu, a guy who literally must have only read about America in comic books) that just seem so unlikely they veer the film out of the funny zone. Chris Rock dials it back in a more observational “I can't believe this shit is happening” role, but maybe a tad too much given that more manic energy from him might have compensated for the missteps elsewhere.
Veering between smart Woody Allen's-ish observations, crass sketch moments and a weird meta crisis of self-tangent in the third act, Delpy's film ends up being uneven and forgettable, a crime given the obvious talent of its creator.Reviewed on: 14 May 2012
If you like this, try:2 Days In Paris