2 Days in New York (2011) is Julie Delpy’s follow-up to 2 Days in Paris (2007), but this isn’t a standard sequel. Although 2 Days in New York sees the return of Marion (Delpy) and her eccentric family, we are far from her quaint Parisian home – in bustling New York City. Marion has ditched her neurotic boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) for sympathetic journalist Mingus – the excellent Chris Rock – who she lives with, alongside their children from previous relationships.
The film tracks the antics of Marion’s sister, father and sister’s boyfriend (who is also Marion’s ex-lover) who have come to celebrate Marion’s new photography exhibition’s opening night and see Manhattan – the exhibition is a series of portraits of Marion with previous lovers in bed. If this plot doesn’t sound that exciting, it must be said that this film is hilarious.
From Marion pretending to have a brain tumour to stop their eviction, and later selling her soul as ‘conceptual art’, to Mingus’ disgust at their French guests’ coarse consumption, and his ‘deep’ conversations with a cardboard cut-out of Obama, 2 Days in New York effortlessly blends the absurd with the everyday to give a comical and tender account of modern family life.
Much of the humour comes from the brilliant script and perfectly timed editing and acting, but there are also moments of lost French/English translation, which although somewhat predictable, still provide laughs. Additionally, Albert Delpy, Marion’s father Jeannot (and also Delpy’s father in real life), is a huge presence, and his craziness seems to have increased during his transatlantic flight.
His scenes with Rock stand out as some of the most humorous, but cringe-worthy, father-in-law exchanges of recent years, and although still awkward, there is a natural flow between the two which was absent with Goldberg. Jeannot’s spontaneous, exuberant ‘Frenchness’ contrasts perfectly with Rock’s sarcasm and more serious ‘American’ nature, through their many inappropriate conversations – and the cultural divide is highlighted further through Marion’s irrational fiery temper, which Mingus cannot understand.
2 Days in New York feels more commercial than its predecessor, but this may be due to the location and casting. Whereas 2 Days in Paris has a definite European air, it is hard not to see ‘Europe’ here as the foreign destabilising force in Marion and Mingus’ previously contented New York existence (so it is something of a secondary aspect of the film). Having said this, as a romantic comedy, there is rarely a better script or production than this for the majority of the film, and maybe Delpy’s turn to the mainstream isn’t such a bad thing, even if the end is a little farcical and obvious.
Written By: Jade Turner