January 28, 2012


More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Salem
Tags: , , , , ,


In 2007, Julie Delpy wrote, directed and co-starred in 2 Days In Paris, a romantic comedy-drama featuring Adam Goldberg and herself as a couple who lived in NY and visited the title city for a tumultuous visit with her character Marie’s family.  Paris was only a moderate art-house success in the US ($4.4M), but it did well overseas, and hence, somewhat surprisingly, we have a sequel with a continental switch:  2 DAYS IN NEW YORK, which premiered at Sundance.

A real-time 4 years has passed, and Marie has had a son with Goldberg’s character but broken up with him (Goldberg doesn’t appear in this film). She now lives with Mingus (Chris Rock) a public- and satellite-radio host, along with her son and Mingus’s daughter.  This time, it’s her relatives who are visiting New York, including her jolly if unwashed father Jeannot (played by Albert Delpy, the star’s real-life dad), ultra-competitive sister Rose (Alexia Laudeau), and idiot ex-boyfriend Manu (Alexandre Nahon), who is now seeing Rose.  (Marie’s mother was played by Delpy’s real-life mother in Paris, and in the interim, both the actress and the character have passed away.)  They’re in town for the opening of Marie’s art gallery show, for which the centerpiece is Marie’s sale of a piece of conceptual art:  her soul.

2 Days In Paris had a bit of a dark edge:  the disruption caused by Marie’s family and her exes scraped at the tensions between Delpy and Goldberg’s characters, and it became increasingly clear that they were unlikely to stay together.  New York is more of a sit-com and a fairy tale (it’s framed with Marie’s narration of a children’s puppet show), and it has less substance, but it’s often quite amusing.  The 2 Delpys, Laudeau and Nahun are a polished comedy troupe (Landau and Nahun also collaborated on the script), and they get big laughs from culture clash between American and French notions of sexuality, drug use and race–and in Manu, they have the kind of character who’s liable to say just about anything at any time and be amiably, unintentionally offensive.  Kate Burton and Dylan Baker turn up as neighbors who become embroiled in Marie’s comic deceptions, and there’s also a hilarious in-joke piece of casting for the person who purchases Marie’s soul.

The surprise of 2 Days In New York, though, may be Chris Rock.  Rock, one of the great stand-up comics of his generation, has had a frustrating movie career, playing sidekicks (often in terrible Adam Sandler vehicles) and bland leading roles, even when he’s also been the writer and/or director.  He’s never been as relaxed or assured on screen as he is in New York, providing not just a believable movie mate for Delpy, but seemingly content to be the straight man with superb comic timing to the crazy French people.  As Marie becomes increasingly frayed by her family, it’s Mingus who holds the movie together, and watching Rock adeptly supply grounding to the silliness around him is a pleasure.

2 Days In New York is in no way a major piece of work, not even as compared to Paris, where the emotional stakes were higher.  Some of Delpy’s devices, like Mingus’s extended monologues to a cardboard cutout of Barack Obama, are awkward, and as a director, she can’t quite pull off the whimsy of her last reel. Still, it’s an enjoyable 90 minutes with quite a few pleasant cross-cultural laughs, and while there are very few franchises in indie film, a third installment of the series in a few years’ time could be fine.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."