Movie review: French wreak havoc for '2 Days in New York'
The famous saying is that houseguests, like fish, smell after three days.
Julie Delpy's comedy "2 Days in New York" proves some visitors can wear out their welcome in a matter of hours. In this sequel to the 2007 romantic comedy "2 Days in Paris," her photographer character of Marion is living in New York with Mingus (Chris Rock), a talk-radio host and Village Voice writer who is twice divorced.
She has a 3-year-old son, he has a school-age daughter, and all is well until her nutty widowed father (real-life dad Albert Delpy), competitive, critical and oversexed sister, Rose (Alexia Landeau), and the sibling's boyfriend, Manu (Alex Nahon), come for a visit.
2.5 stars = Average
- Starring: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock.
- Rating: R for language, sexual content, some drug use and brief nudity.
The craziness starts at customs, when the father tries to smuggle in enough sausage and cheese to stock a deli case. From there, it's conversations lost in translation from English to French and back again, inappropriate behavior, sisters squabbling at the most inopportune times and Marion's attempt to sell her soul -- as a conceptual piece of art -- at the opening of her gallery show.
When Mingus explains that he has two programs on public radio, along with one on Sirius, Manu translates that his host has the flu and it may be serious. That leads even further afield to talk about the danger of air conditioning and Legionnaires' disease.
In "2 Days in Paris," Marion and onetime boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) were on a European vacation designed to rekindle their romantic spark. Jack is gone, but his towheaded son remains although an even larger loss is that of Marion's mother, played in the 2007 film by her actual mother, Marie Pillet, who died two years later.
Marion's father asks if Mingus is "the one." After all, Marion's romantic history is spread across the photos that are the focus of her exhibit.
"The one? We'll see," she says, having already wondered about the longevity of relationships. "Now, if you meet the love of your life at 25, you get to live with him for the next 60 years," she says, making that sound like a potential prison sentence.
"2 Days," opening today at the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill, has some amusing bits as when Marion cooks up a lie to placate an angry neighbor and it has unintended consequences. It has slices that seem lifted from a comedy routine -- Chris Rock talking to a cardboard stand-up of President Barack Obama -- and behavior by the visitors that is silly or juvenile at best, off-putting at worst.
Rose proves her sister's assertion that she's an exhibitionist while her father vandalizes a limo parked curbside as though he were a clueless teenage boy.
"2 Days," directed and co-written by Ms. Delpy, is vividly shot, however, with clever sightseeing montages, backgrounds that are rarely boring (a phone call takes place in front of an enormous fish tank, Ms. Delpy wades through a crush of pedestrians in Halloween costumes) and Ms. Delpy going off on someone as though she were Diane Keaton in flibbertigibbet mode.
Marion and Mingus are characters you want to spend time with, but when the story imports the galling Gauls and tests their bond, you may be ready to look for an escape hatch or a hotel, nice or otherwise.
First Published August 24, 2012 12:00 am