Saturday, August 11, 2012


In the brisk, hilarious sequel to 2007's 2 Days in Paris (also written and directed by star, Julie Delpy) we meet up with neurotic photographer Marion a few years after her tumultuous trip to her native France with then boyfriend Jack, played by Adam Goldberg (who doesn't appear in the sequel).  She has a toddler that resulted from that previous relationship, but now she has a new beau, Mingus (Chris Rock), who has his own young daughter, and they're living their version of post-racial domestic bliss.  That is, until they are paid a visit from Marion's French relatives, complete with unwanted guest.  Reprising their roles from the first film Marion's dad (Albert Delpy), her sister Rose (Alexia Landeau) and unexpectedly, Marion's ex, and Rose's current, boyfriend Manu (Alex Nahon) come to wreak havoc on their tiny New York apartment for two days.  During this time Marion is also hosting an exhibition of her photographs at which she is auctioning off her soul as a conceptual art piece.  Talk about timing.

This sequel is more lighthearted than its predecessor which focused on the relationship between Marion and Jack and whether or not they had a future together.  Now, Marion seems happy with Mingus for the most part, but her family is threatening to give him second thoughts about making these people his in-laws.  Rose, her passive-aggressively competitive sister with a startling lack of boundaries, must be the worst child psychologist in France.  While Manu, her boyfriend, is a foreigner who learned everything he knows about America, and more specifically black people, from MTV in the 90's, and manages to always be saying or doing the wrong thing.  Marion's father, who speaks hardly any English, is only less of a problem because his difficulties communicating make his foibles slightly more palatable.  Though his penchant for keying cars is a bit problematic.

Over the two days of their visit Marion runs the gamut of emotions giving Delpy a wonderful showcase for her varied comedic chops.  She has one particularly funny scene on the phone with a customer service rep where she goes from polite to frustrated to catty on a dime.  The script, co-written by Landeau and Nahon, is well-paced and clever allowing each of the primary characters a chance to be fully formed.  Chris Rock, who has appeared in broader comedies like Grown Ups and Death at a Funeral plays it understated and is a great straight man to the wacky Parisian visitors.

The puppet shows that open and close the film could have been too precious in the wrong hands, but it is just another credit to Delpy's intelligent sense of humor and restraint that they come off as endearing and make nice bookends to the vibrant slice of life in between them.  From the rich and funny dialogue to the effortless performances it's 2 Days in New York well spent.