2 Days in New York Reviews
Albert Delpy, Julie's real-life father, has a twinkling joie de vivre, and it's always nice to see German wunderkind, Daniel Brühl. The screwball Woody Allen-esque hijinx pick up after Marion's performance art piece of selling her soul to the highest bidder despite not believing in the soul, her subsequent entreaty to one Vincent Gallo, the buyer, to give it back, and her adorably neurotic distress over Gallo having eaten her soul. Julie Delpy is seriously balls-to-the-wall nuts, but she is also simply fantastic.
Good witty movie! Some scenes made me laugh so hard. Everyone who has been in relationships with someone from another country will definitely appreciate this movie. Finally, this movie is so New Yorkish that it makes it impossible not to like it! The best way to describe this is as a Woody Allen type movie (Woody had nothing to do with this) but that is the feel that it has. The comedy and humor is very offbeat but funny. The dialog in many places is witty and carries the movie. I have to say that this is a strange movie to see Chris Rock in, he does do a good job though, but it's still weird. The movie is pretty good, but the ending got a little bizarre. This is still basically a movie about crazy in-laws but it is pretty funny and worth seeing. Overall, if you are a fan of Woody Allen then you will probably like this movie.
Marion (Delpy) has broken up with Jack (Two Days in Paris) and now lives in New York with their child. But when her family decides to come visit her, she's unaware that the different cultural background held by her new American boyfriend Mingus (Rock), her eccentric father, and her sister Rose who decided to bring her ex-boyfriend along for the trip, added to her upcoming photo exhibition, will make up for an explosive mix.
Manhattan couple Marion and Mingus, who each have children from prior relationships, find their comfortable family dynamic jostled by a visit from Marion's relatives.
The sequel to 2007's "2 Days in Paris", with Delpy and Chris Rock starring as a couple in Manhattan, coping with her son and his daughter from previous relationships. They manage quite nicely until her family comes from France for a visit. Dad (her actual father, Albert) is a delightfully eccentric old gent; her sister is a royal pain in the derrière. Even worse, she brings her endlessly annoying boyfriend, with whom Delpy had a brief fling years before. The clashes of three generations worth of cultures, personalities and languages are magnified by cramming so many bodies, and all their baggage, into a tiny Manhattan apartment. Chaos reigns. For about half of the film, the parade of anxieties, resentments and misunderstandings teeters precariously between making us laugh and feel exhausted from sensory overload. There's so much neurotic energy in the air that Rock is the one who seems least crazy! Delpy's creation adds up to a Woody Allen film fueled by crystal meth.
Here she plays a French woman living in New York and married to an American, who is played by Chris Rock. It's inspired casting. Rock is a good actor and has screen charisma. His presence also allows the film to take on American racial issues, which it does with a light comic touch. His character is named Mingus. I loved that little tribute to American jazz. The French have always loved American jazz (and all the brainier forms of black American culture), much more than white Americans have.
The couple and their children play host to Delpy's unusual family, who arrive from France in a whirlwind of goofball comedy. Dad speaks no English and has many quirks. He is played by Delpy's real-life father, adding a pinch of post-modernism.
The sister is an exhibitionist. One of the funniest sequences involves the sister parading around the apartment in only a blouse (no pants or underwear) when the couple has guests. I don't exactly know why, but I kept roaring over this. Watching the guests try not to look at her was hilarious. Watching the sister pretend like everything was normal was also very funny.
The sister's boyfriend is a pot smoker who blithely brings drug dealers to the couple's apartment as if they're friendly neighborhood mailmen. The French have a great comic tradition, which is rarely seen in this country. I'm not sure why, but French comedies rarely get released in the US. You have to live in France to see them. I'm delighted that Delpy is bringing some of that zany French farce to our shores.
The French family that comes to visit is not the only source of comedy. There are also 100 or so great one-liners and comic situations between Delpy and Rock. It's a sparkling script, directed and acted with real verve. The editing is crisp and bright, giving the film a perfect rhythm.
My only concern is that Delpy's style is basically an imitation of Woody Allen. Very urban and talky, with much of the comedy derived from the characters' colorful quirks and neuroses. It's great fun but quite derivative. Delpy is not exhibiting much originality or range as a filmmaker.
But I recently learned that she has made a few films that weren't released in the US, including one based on the legend of Countess Bathory, the Transylvanian princess who allegedly murdered many girls and drank their blood. Perhaps the problem is less with Delpy than with the global distributors, who only seem to be interested in her imitations of Woody Allen.
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
Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
"2 Days in New York" is a funny and engaging movie from Julie Delpy, of which my favorite parts were the puppets. While the characters can be crude from time to time, the movie is not really. A lot of that goes towards the movie's exploration of family as generating lots of messy emotions. As Marion puts it in her case of the collision of two families and cultures, they can be even more complex. For her, the question comes down to has she really been able to escape the insanity of her past life. And, yes, it is a little weird that Chris Rock is playing straight man to this three ring circus. Even with a great cameo late in the movie, I am still left wondering what exactly Kate Burton and Dylan Baker are supposed to be doing here.
Okay, better move on before the exclamation key on my laptop breaks. The movie itself? Well it begins very promisingly, an alternative spin on a worn out theme, the culture clash comedy. The first twenty minutes or so are laugh out loud, the director's father and Rock are brilliantly uncomfortable together. As the narrative expands though more and more cliches enter the mix. If I have any French readers perhaps you could explain your country's juvenile obsession with bodily functions? It's 2012, do you seriously still snigger at the sight of a bare backside? This toilet humor rendered the French characters no more than an obnoxious bunch of prats. At one point Delpy Snr keys a limo and the audience are expected to laugh along with him. Sorry that's not comedy, that's called being an asshole.
Thankfully there's no reference made to Delpy and Rock's mixed relationship but Rock's character is reduced to a stereotype thanks to countless scenes of him conversing with a lifesize cardboard Obama. The great shame is that Rock is a genuinely talented comic performer and this could have been a chance for him to stretch his acting chops. He's easily the best part of the film but sadly also the smallest part. This guy is crying out for a lead role in a Woody Allen movie.
What had the potential to be a sophisticated comedy is ultimately let down by a brand of humor that even Adam Sandler would find crude. It certainly won't improve Franco-American relations.
Funny stuff, worth a look.
This time too Jack is nowhere to be seen, replaced by Mingus (Chris Rock, with a cool character name), a journalist and radio host who is a bit short-fused when it comes to his space and who occupies the cramped apartment he shares with Marion's son and his daughter from another marriage. Delpy is just incandescent as always, and Rock is all kinds of fun, the best he's ever been onscreen, especially in his imaginary debates he stages with President Obama. Rock is no stranger to this sort of material, his 2006 I Think I Love My Wife was essentially a remake of Eric Rohmer's Chloe in The Afternoon. The cross-cultural bits get tiresome quickly, and that's what zaps much of the life of this lovely drama. All the gags only serve to eschew the larger theme at play here: how strong ties to family can make love an all out war. Great film to chew on.