Julie Delpy has a low-key charmer here in the comedy of manners ‘2 Days in New York’. A sequel to ‘2 Days in Paris’, Delpy has substituted her relationship with Adam Goldberg for a new one with Chris Rock, and the results are just as entertaining as they were last time (and perhaps a little bit more satisfying here). Delpy’s work behind the camera and in front of it deserve commendation, but for me the highlight of the film is Rock’s quietly exasperated performance. In many ways, he’s playing the Woody Allen role here (in fact, one can argue that Delpy does too), and it makes me wish that Allen casts him in a lead role real soon. In fact, Delpy’s made the movie very much like the Wood man, and that’s not an accident (it’s also got a French-ness to it, which also goes along with Allen’s work). While not on the level of his finest work, this does have the same sort of mellow appeal that his more second tier efforts have, and I mean that as a compliment. Watching Delpy and Rock deal with her character’s intrusive family that’s on vacation for a few days in the Big Apple creates a lot of opportunities for humor. The film doesn’t always hit its mark, but it does so more often than not and that makes it easy to like. The movie is opening this Friday, and I have no problem recommending it to you in this Earl Review. It deserves your time…
The story this time centers around Marion (Delpy) and her live in boyfriend Mingus (Rock) dealing with the arrival of Marion’s family for a visit to New York City. Marion and Mingus live a relatively quiet and comfortable life in Manhattan with Marion’s young son from her previous marriage to Jack (a never seen Goldberg), and occasionally Mingus’ young daughter from a prior relationship of his. After the death of her mother, Marion’s father Jeannot (Albert Delpy), sister Rose (Alexia Landeau), and Marion’s ex/Rose’s current beau Manu (Alex Nahon). Initially Mingus is tickled by Marion’s eccentric family, but as his life and then work (he’s a radio talk show host) begin to be affected, it puts a strain on his relationship with Marion and both of their sanities. It seems that again Marion will have to think long and hard about what she wants in life and who she wants to spend it with. Delpy is breaking no new ground here, but she’s doing it in a relatively clever and enjoyable way, filled with smiles and nutty characters.
The acting in the film is solid, but not in any sort of spectacular way. I’m a huge fan of Julie Delpy’s performances in ‘Before Sunrise’ and ‘Before Sunset’, though I always thought she tried a little too hard to recapture that feeling with ‘2 Days in Paris’. Here, she’s freed from that and her performance is better for it. The comedy is sometimes a little awkward, but overall it’s a good job by Delpy. I really liked Chris Rock here though, as he outshines her in every single way. I really hope he plays more of these down to Earth sort of characters more often, as it fits him quite well. A running conversation he has with a cardboard cutout of Barack Obama in his office is always amusing. As for the rest of the cast, Albert Delpy steals some scenes as Marion’s looney father, Alexia Landeau is nicely used as the complete opposite of her sister, while Alex Nahon is mostly annoying. The film also includes supporting work from Dylan Baker, Daniel Brühl, Kate Burton, and even a strange cameo from Vincent Gallo. The interactions between Julie Delpy and Chris Rock are obviously the highlight though.
As a director, Julie Delpy is simple and effective. She paces things well and keeps the film moving at a good pace. There are no amazing moments to point out, just the notion that she did a job well and deserves credit for that. Her screenplay that she wrote with costars Alexia Landeau and Alex Nahon is often witty, but a time or two too often the comedy seems out of place. A perfect example is the Gallo cameo, which brings things to a grinding halt. It’s something from out of another movie and does nothing for this one. It’s not a huge issue, but it kept me from loving the film completely. I like it for sure, but it’s hardly without flaws like that one. That being said, the good far outweighs the bad in this movie that’s heavily influenced by the work of Woody Allen
In the end, ‘2 Days in New York’ is a nice little sequel that I have no problem recommending to you all. It opens on Friday and I hope this Early Review at least made you aware of its existence, if nothing else. Julie Delpy is a talented triple threat and I’m curious to see what she does next. I wouldn’t expect to see a trilogy, but then again, I didn’t expect a sequel in the first place, so who knows? Give this flick a shot, you’ll likely be thankful that you did.
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!