Julie Delpy as Marion and Chris Rock as Mingus. Click on the 'Play' button above to watch the trailer for 2 Days in New York.
By Simon Miraudo
November 21, 2012
(Republished March 18, 2013)
Julie Delpy's smartest move as a director is to feature Julie Delpy so prominently in her films. That endless reservoir of charm is drawn from yet again in her latest effort, 2 Days in New York, an unnecessary but not unappealing sequel to the surprisingly affecting 2 Days in Paris. Much of that appeal comes from its starlet, as the rest of the picture goes through many of the same motions as its predecessor with muted success.
In Paris, Delpy's Marion introduced her American boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) to her French home, her eccentric family, and a barrage of former lovers. Their relationship - understandably - didn't take, and she's now living with Village Voice journalist Mingus (Chris Rock). When her father Jeannot (Delpy's real-life pa, Albert), sister Rose (Delpy's co-writer Alexia Landeau), and old boyfriend Manu (Alexandre Nahon) visit the happy couple in New York, they find their European ways clashing with that of the up-tight Yanks. Almost instantly, Mingus grows concerned that Marion is more like her relatives than she'd been letting on, and maybe that's not someone he'd like to stick with much longer. The fact that Marion is, you know, played by lovely Julie Delpy, makes his change-of-heart somewhat spurious.
If Rose is the raunchier, more open-minded sister of Marion, the 2 Days series is the same to the Before Sunrise saga. Those Richard Linklater pictures, starring and co-written by Ethan Hawke and Delpy, are tender and melancholic, but similarly recount a relationship's evolution over 24 hours. Paris and New York document twice that much time, and are far more vibrant, goofy, and giddily farcical. That said, the tenderness and melancholy remains, particularly in the final sequences of this flick, where Marion's struggling artist agrees to sell her soul as a stunt, and undergoes the same kind of existential panic as Bart Simpson once did. The ghost of Delpy's mother, Marie Pillet, lingers over the feature too. Pillet passed in 2009, and the characters here are similarly grieving a loss. This particular storyline crescendos with a sequence in which a bird - perhaps possessed by her spirit - poops on Marion's enemies, and it's slightly jarring. Delpy deserves admiration for walking the tonal tight-rope, even if she wobbles semi-frequently.
2 Days in New York lives or dies by its cast. Rock proves himself a fitting screen partner to Delpy with what might be his most subdued performance ever. Albert Delpy is a comic delight as Marion's rambunctious father, and Landeau and Nahon grate on the nerves just as they should. I think I've already made clear my feelings on the hilarious and heartfelt lead actress. As a filmmaker, Delpy's doing just fine, though I am a little concerned with how she continually verbally abuses herself; creating monologues for her partners in which they chastise and threaten to leave her. Does she need an ego boost? I unashamedly offer this review in service of that.
2 Days in New York is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Pay Per Play from March 22, 2013.