Sat September 1, 2012
2 Days in New York
Julie Delpy again explores the dynammism of love in a big city.
2 Days in New York
Director: Julie Delpy (2 Days in Paris)
Screenplay: Delpy (Before Sunset), Alexia Landeau
Cast: July Delpy (2 Nights in Paris), Chris Rock (Grown Ups)
Runtime: 96 min.
by John DeSando
If you want to know how good Woody Allen is in his Manhattan-based films, see Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York to understand why the Woodman is the ruler. Delpy does well crafting scenes in a comedy that evoke the zany, uncontrollable lives of Manhattanites, but her dialogue lack the biting intelligence of Allen’s.
Delpy’s French artist Marion and live-in lover, radio personality Mingus (Chris Rock), entertain her Parisian relatives in their small NYC apartment, evoking the wild world of French farce. Her constant battle with her sister Rose (Alexia Landau) and her eccentric father, Jeannot (Delpy’s real father, Albert Delpy), keep the story lively if not repetitious.
The puppet show opening deftly shows what brought her to this arrangement and gently prepares us for the complex personalities to come. Mingus’s rolling conversation in his study with a life-size cutout of President Obama reflects his and our need to be relieved now and them of the mayhem by conversing with a mature adult.
The chaos is not unexpected as language barriers and differing cultures offer multiple disconnect set pieces. Strangely, though, not much of it results in a cracked smile, especially for those of us whose comedic orientation reflects the influences of Annie Hall up to the recent Intouchables. The script doesn’t crackle.
Although Delpy regularly tempts the audience with scenarios that could lead to satisfying depth (consider Marion’s sister and Marion’s ex-love as part of the visiting entourage for potential character development), she remains faithful to the major characters and their prosaic lives. However, Delpy’s art show provides a welcome relief when it introduces the drama of Delpy selling her “soul” ( a photo and an apt metaphor), a figure of speech that works for the urbanites who rarely think of abstract investments in a less rigid world.
I am a big fan of Julie Delpy: Her Before Sunrise and Before Sunset were an inspiration with their reliance on two characters and witty dialogue. Although 2 nights in Paris started to slip into channeling Diane Keaton and Woody Allen, 2 Days in New York goes even further. But the closer she gets to imitating Keaton’s urban persona, the less clever and original she becomes.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org.
He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel
Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com