Falling in love with Julie Delpy is a lot harder than it actually sounds.
Though Marion (Julie Delpy) and Jack (Adam Goldberg) didn’t end up working out, they still live close enough to one another now where their son can see one another and go back-and-forth. Of course, this also means that now Marion has to live in New York, where she soon starts up a new, relatively serious relationship with radio DJ Mingus (Chris Rock). Mingus has a kid of his own, so they’re able to relate and get along just like normal, simple-minded adults who fall in love generally do. And now with Marion’s latest art gallery about to be open to the public, she decides to invite her family from France, all the way over to the states. While Mingus is open to meeting this wacky family of hers, he has no actual clue what he’s getting himself into when they actually show up and basically run all sorts of havoc in and around his life. Marion’s father (Albert Delpy), can’t help being overly sexual, especially with the recent passing of his wife, whereas as her sister (Alexia Landeau) is now sleeping with her ex-boyfriend (Alexandre Nahon) – two people who also can’t stop smoking pot everywhere they go.
Though it wasn’t a perfect movie in the least bit, 2 Days in Paris was still, for what it’s worth, a very funny, but insightful look inside a relationship that was, as we could all see, on its last limbs. The movie had a great balance of wacky, somewhat over-the-top humor, but found a way to balance it all out with the smart, but sad details of the central relationship and how both partners can sometimes realize the separation occurring, but are too afraid or too comfortable with one another to do anything about it. What also helped that movie is the fact that it was co-written, directed, and starred the lovely, likable, beautiful and incredibly charming Julie Delpy, in her prime-form.
So rarely do we get a chance to see Delpy in the States, whether it’s in one of the Before movies, or, surprisingly enough, the latest Avengers flick, that when she does show her bright and smiling face in something, it’s an absolute joy. That’s why 2 Days in New York, really does feel like a movie I want to like, more than I actually dislike. Delpy herself clearly loves these characters, as well as the nutty situations they get themselves into just for the sake of it. She definitely takes a lot of her inspiration from the likes of Woody Allen and Billy Wilder, wherein the enjoyment can be had with watching as these colorful characters seem to ruin every aspect of their, or someone else’s life, realizing it and then trying to make amends for it all, while still not ever turning nice or into a different person.
Issue is, 2 Days in New York isn’t as deep as it likes to think it is.
Most of this has to come down to the central tone of the movie. There was a certain feeling of uneasiness in Paris that made it feel like more of a dark comedy, rather than an all out, broad piece of comedy. In New York, all of the subversiveness that made the original movie hit so much harder, is basically gone to the wind, so that Delpy’s goofy French relatives can act out and basically make Mingus’ life a living hell. While it was a lot easier to believe this in Paris (considering that it was Adam Goldberg who was actually visiting), now, the characters seem just like a simple pains in the asses who need to be told to “shut the ‘eff up and leave”.
And what’s worst of all, Delpy’s Marion feels a whole lot more annoying than usual. Rather than her being a sympathetic and sweet character we feel bad for because she’s trying to do the right thing and is instead, getting pulled into her senseless family drama, now, she’s making up all sorts of stories and lies, as well as acting-out in public because, well, that’s just what the situation calls for. There’s a running-joke in which Marion says that she has brain tumors, just so that she can get out of a confrontation with her neighbors, that doesn’t really start anywhere, nor end up anywhere (although it does give us a funny bit from Dylan Baker), and shows that Marion’s actually kind of annoying.
Never would I have ever thought I’d be using the word “annoying” in the same sentence when describing a Julie Delpy character, but such is what happens in a movie like 2 Days in New York.
And even though Chris Rock is normally fine and funny, no matter what he does, the fact that he’s playing the straight-man here can get a tad bothersome. Sure, it’s neat to see Rock try something new and interesting for a change, but his Mingus character just comes off as boring and never seems actually engaged with the rest of the movie, or Marion for that matter. It’s almost as if Rock and Delpy had just met moments before the camera’s started rolling and they were told to “act in love”. It never feels real and makes the emotional stakes feel low and less meaningful than they did in the original movie.
But at the end of the day though, I did laugh. Not a whole lot, but just enough to make me feel as if my time hadn’t been wasted and I had been on a small trip of sorts that I maybe wouldn’t want to take again in the future, but I’m glad I got a chance to see once more.
Consensus: Delpy herself clearly has a sort of love for these characters, but 2 Days in New York lacks any sort of emotional weight or hilarity to keep it tonally even and entertaining, despite everyone seeming like they’re having a fun time.
5 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire