Movie review: French, American cultures clash in ‘2 Days in New York’
A charming, neurotic French trifle with heady Manhattan (read that: Woody Allen) piquancy, “2 Days in New York” is actress, director and co-writer Julie Delpy’s witty but madly messy follow-up to “2 Days in Paris, “ her 2007 celebration of Franco-American culture clashes and zestful family dysfunction.
Delpy’s earlier film – her second feature as a director – was a semi-autobiographical farce that proved this wondrous, doe-eyed actress also has the stern stuff of a bawdy, sharply incisive auteur in her. The film introduced us to Delpy’s Marion, a soulful but decidedly loopy art photographer, whose romance with an uptight American beau (Adam Goldberg) is tested on a visit to Paris to see her overbearing parents and flirtatious, pot-addled ex-boyfriend.
“2 Days in New York” picks up much later in Manhattan’s boho Chelsea neighborhood, where Marion lives with new boyfriend Mingus (Chris Rock), a Village Voice columnist and talk-radio host, and their children from previous relationships.
Their hipster lifestyle (tricked out with dazzling sightseeing tableaux of Manhattan landmarks) gets a jolting dose of Gallic gall when Marion’s boisterously crass papa Jeannot (a hammy Albert Delpy, Julie’s real-life dad) comes to visit. And, to boot, he’s lugged along 30 pounds of French cheese and sausage (much to the chagrin of U.S. Customs officials), plus Marion’s libertine sister Rose (Alexia Landeau) and stoner ex-boyfriend Manu (Alex Nahon). Landeau and Nahon are also credited as co-writers.
It’s largely left of Rock’s cool straight man Mingus to underscore the comic craziness of Marion’s kooky Parisian clan with slow-burn reactions and exasperated quips (“Your family, they’re like a reverse ‘Waiting for Godot’”). He’s the sorely aggrieved Ricky Ricardo to Delpy’s progressively manic Lucy.
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