Title: 2 Days in New York
Director: Julie Delpy
Starring: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alex Nahon, Dylan Baker, Kate Burton, Malinda Williams
Nobody can push buttons of exasperation and pull levers of hair-trigger emotional reaction quite like family — those folks who know all of the faces of the past you’ve tried to shake and shed. That truth is borne out in Julie Delpy’s witty, winning new comedy of relationships and culture-clash, “2 Days in New York.” A nominal follow-up to 2007’s “2 Days in Paris,” in which Delpy played the same character with a different love interest, this rather delightful romp eschews complicated plotting to instead luxuriate in and connect via a fresh, fun, wound-up energy all its own.
French-born photographer and artist Marion (Delpy) lives comfortably with her radio talk show host boyfriend Mingus (Chris Rock) and their two children from previous relationships. But on the eve of a big show — the centerpiece of which is a conceptual piece in which she’s offering up her soul for sale, for $10,000 — Marion gets plenty of extra stress when her family arrives for a visit. This includes her over-sexed sister Rose (Alexia Landau); her sister’s outrageous, weed-obsessed boyfriend Manu (Alex Nahon), also one of Marion’s exes; and her merrily bizarre and gregarious father (Albert Delpy), who thinks showers “deplete the immune system.” Falling back into old patterns, Marion starts spinning out of control, and this new glimpse of craziness puts Mingus further on edge.
Delpy collaborated on the script with Landeau and Nahon — each of whom also reprise their characters from “Paris” — and it’s clear that their offscreen rapport informs much of the rapid-fire bickering and gussied-up misunderstanding that fuels the movie’s comedy. Yet Delpy’s worldview and tone — neurotic, but knowing — also echo a female Woody Allen by way of Lina Wertmüller, funky and funny without tipping over into tedium or speechifying. Much of this balancing act owes to her directorial style, which is light and playful throughout, incorporating photo montages and a bouncy score of her own composition.
The pairing of Rock and Delpy is also a true delight. It gives Rock a chance to stretch a bit and do something different while also playing to his verbal strengths. Mostly, though, “2 Days in New York” simply provides a showcase for the unexpected mash-up of Rock and Delpy’s respective styles and rhythms. It’s the same premise, basically, behind Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell’s casting in “Bewitched,” except that Delpy’s loose-limbed, lived-in movie is actually funny. “2 Days” with this brood — in addition to what’s probably the year’s most inspired cameo appearance — will put a smile on one’s face.
Written by: Brent Simon