by Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise and its sequel Before Sunset (in both of which she starred), Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in Paris sojourn a few
years ago brought the surprisingly delightful relationship trials of Marion (Delpy)
and Jack (Adam Goldberg) to the screen. Can
its sequel translate that French charm across the pond?
Set a few years later 2 Days in New York finds
Marion sharing custody of her son Lulu with the now estranged Jack and living
with her new beau Mingus (Chris Rock).
When her family come to stay for a few days to coincide with the
launch of her art exhibition, the clash of cultures proves too much for the
sensitive Marion to handle.
Much of the humour of the first film revolved around Jack’s struggles to
anchor his relationship amidst the chaotic French characters he found himself thrown in with. Here the set
up is broadly similar with Marion’s bawdy father Jeannot (real-life father Albert Delpy), sex-mad sister Rose
(co-screenwriter Alexia Landeau) and
her creepy boyfriend Manu (Alex Nahon) providing enough French stereotype to
amuse any Anglophile.
However, as in the first film, what makes Delpy’s tale work is the glut of
jokes and gags hurled about, often at the expense of her fellow countrymen and
women. With Rock given little to do for most of the film except
exhibit surprise and shock in their various guises as Marion’s family continue
to flout respectable guest etiquette, it’s
actually quite pleasing to see how well he works as the ‘straight man’ to the amusing but slightly two-dimensional
assortment of European oddballs.
So after some recreational drug use,
nudity and a sadly too brief stay by Manu, 2
Days In New York moves into a less
frantic and more considered second half in
which Marion’s artistic ability and relationship suitability are
both questioned. It might lack the pace of the film’s more scatter-gun first
half and its enjoyably frequent dinner-table shenanigans but, with a surprise
cameo and a neat ending, it does at least bring some closure to what
might have at one point escalated beyond farce.
Perfectly enjoyable on its own, but better
served with Paris as an entree, 2 Days In New York is far funnier then than most mainstream fare thanks
to a witty script, lively performances and
truly cosmopolitan setting. A funny take on the whole ‘fish out of water’
concept is lifted by Delpy’s
enjoyable script and lively screen presence. This is one big apple worth taking a juicy