2 Days In New York is the sequel to the 2007 film, 2 Days in Paris. Julie Delpy reprises her role as Marion, a French photographer living in New York with her boyfriend, here played by Chris Rock. Her family arrives from France on the eve of her exhibition where she plans to sell her soul for $10,000, along with her photographic work. The three of them – her father, sister and her sister’s ex-boyfriend – all stay in their small apartment rather than checking into a hotel. The film doesn’t necessarily follow an overall plot, rather it is simply two eventful days put into a film. The film’s structure, dialogue and even costume and set design is hugely reminiscent of Woody Allen films and isn’t done particularly well.
Delpy dresses, moves and speaks like Diane Keaton during her Annie Hall/Manhattan phase. Chris Rock gives a reigned-in and dignified performance that really does show how his range and how capable he can be, if properly motivated. The supporting cast is made up of Julie Deply’s real-life father, Albert Delpy – playing her father and Alexia Landeau and Alexandre Nahon, as her sister and her sister’s ex-girlfriend respectively. Delpy’s extended family are very much playing up French stereotypes. In other words, they’re obnoxious soap-dodgers who have no concept of social boundaries. As well as this, all of them are highly unlikable characters. The father is a doddering old man who keys cars that he doesn’t like. Alexandre Nahon, her sister’s ex-boyfriend, casually buys hash in front of children and Alexia Landeau’s character prances about their apartment barely dressed.
The film’s comedic set-pieces are bawdy and obvious. It continually focuses in on the cultural differences between Delpy’s French family and Rock’s somewhat reserved demeanour. The first few times are somewhat humorous, however it soon becomes the central theme throughout and becomes tiresome very quickly. As well, the dialogue is overly pretentious, one line in particular rankled heavily – ‘They (Delpy’s family) are like a reverse Waiting For Godot. Some of the visuals are impressive; Delpy photographs New York beautifully without it seeming unrealistic. Unfortunately, the comedy falls flat and the characters are poorly written and ill-defined. The relationship between Delpy and Rock is believable, Rock leads and anchors the film well. However, Delpy is playing a character and directing a film that has been done before. And done far better.
Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details) 2 Days in New York is released on 18th May 2012