Coming from someone who enjoyed "2 Days in Paris" but was annoyed by the forever cynical and far too whiny Adam Goldberg, "2 Days in New York" is an altogether better rehashing of its predecessor from writer/director Julie Delpy (but this time in New York and with Chris Rock). Starring Delpy, once again as the main character Marion, "2 Days in New York" also sees the same actors reprising their roles, including Alexia Landeau as Rose, the antagonistic sister and Alexandre Nahon as Manu, the horned-up ex-boyfriend (and in this film, Rose's current boyfriend). Delpy, the woman obsessed with exploring finite segments of relationships, has written and directed a film which is visually nowhere near excellent, but does contain an abundance of very witty dialogue that rivals the likes of Woody Allen...if Woody Allen was a neurotic French woman. Let me put it this way; only in a Julie Delpy movie could one hear a "Waiting For Godot" joke followed by a Salt-n-Pepa joke.
The Plot: The very beginning of "2 Days in New York" neatly ties up all loose ends from the previous Jack and Marion relationship and quickly delves into the story of Marion and her new African American (you've hooked me already) boyfriend Mingus (I know, what an unfortunate name) played by Chris Rock. Their relationship is described to be something of a fairytale (but not quite a Disney fairytale, because they are in an interracial relationship). But when Marion's very French family comes to visit, a series of catastrophically comical Woody Allen-esque happenstances ensue, which could result in a breakup; and more astoundingly yet another failed relationship for Marion.
While the chemistry between Rock and Delpy is very convincing here, Delpy's writing is still the driving force which allows this story to work so well. And the reason the writing works so well is, like a great piece of stand-up comedy, Delpy has created a film centered around a series of culturally comical skits dealing with the French/American interactions, or cultural relations. But more impressive (and maybe more importantly) this female Woody Allen has created a venue for Chris Rock to find a happy-medium between his weak dramatic abilities and his strong comedic skills.
Chris Rock as an Actor: I've never thought much of Rock (maybe the funniest comedian alive) as an actor. And who would blame me with a filmography which includes "Grown Ups", "Head of State" and "Osmosis Jones". But, with that said, a movie like "2 Days in New York" sees a type of role Chris Rock should be striving to get. The Mingus character is one that while conducive to a scene or two of Rock's babbling stand-up bit, is accentuated by loads of very subtle adult comedy and some very low key romantic moments, that which showcases Rock's acting potential in a non-slapstick fashion.
Final Thought: Even though, for some people, this entire film may feel like a retelling of its predecessor, only with the characters being a little bit older and the addition of Rock, the "2 Day" premise (as a whole) is still a very strong one that hasn't gotten old yet. In my opinion, even if all of the jokes are based on the familiar lost in translation sequences, Delpy's joke writing is so strong that through her films audiences can see the blueprints of what a good culture clash romantic comedy is suppose to look like. Long story short, if you are trying to decide between going to see "2 Days in New York" or "To Rome with Love", I'll put it to you this way: interracial relationships all the way.
Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
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