2 Days in New York

Julie Delpy returns with this breezy sequel to 2 Days in Paris

2 Days in New York

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Directed by Julie Delpy. Starring Chris Rock, Julie Delpy, Dylan Baker, Malinda Williams, Emily Wagner, Albert Delpy, Alex Manette, Daniel Brühl, Kate Burton, Alexandre Nahon. Written by Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nahon.

Note: about 25% of 2 Days in New York is in French, subtitled in Czech on local screens. However, many of the scenes focus on cultural or language differences, and some dialogue is translated or interpreted for the benefit of the Chris Rock character and others.

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2 Days in New York, writer-director-producer-star Julie Delpy’s follow-up to her agreeable 2007 comedy 2 Days in Paris, is a welcome return to the developing life of lead character Marion (Delpy), who is presumably based to some extent on the filmmaker’s own experience (her father, actor Albert Delpy, returns as her onscreen father here).

Paris and now New York have mostly ditched the romantic vibe of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the similarly-themed Delpy-starring Richard Linklater films that are these films’ spiritual ancestors, but that’s OK; as filmmaker and star here, Delpy’s biggest influence seems to be Woody Allen – her Marion is a kind of gender-reversed neurotic Allen archetype.

In the earlier film, an appealing Adam Goldberg helped to balance Delpy’s persona. He’s completely absent from the sequel, for reasons never fully explained, but an unexpected presence fills the void: as Marion’s current boyfriend Mingus, Chris Rock is as good as he’s ever been in an atypical straight man role to the film’s fish-out-of-water comedy.

Of course, this film is set in New York, and it’s Marion’s visiting family – father Jeannot, sister Rose (Alexia Landeau), and Rose’s boyfriend Manu (Alexandre Nahon), all reprising their roles from the earlier film – as the fish. Along with Delpy, the returning cast helps keep the French farce vibe alive and well in the new city.

It’s a few years after the events of Paris, and though Marion has split with Jack (Goldberg in the earlier film), the relationship produced a son, Lulu, whom Delpy narrates the events of the film to. She’s now living with boyfriend Mingus and his young daughter Willow in New York when her family stops by for a visit that threatens to put a strain on her relationship.

Marion is also a struggling artist, and a subplot focuses on her latest gallery exhibit and a PR stunt: she plans to sell her soul to the highest bidder, in the name of art (the cash won’t hurt, either). While the comic possibilities of this are never fully explored, the film pays off in a big way with the revelation of the anonymous bidder, an uncredited cameo by a perfectly-cast actor playing himself.

Vibrant and consistently amusing, 2 Days in New York might be a notch below its predecessor, but it’s still plenty fun. While the cultural humor, which frequently plays with French/European stereotypes, doesn’t break any new ground, the agreeable tone and rapid-fire farcical comedy help make this a breezy hour-and-half.

Also opening: Tady hlídám Já (showtimes | IMDb), a comedy from director Juraj Šajmovič starring Iva Pazderková, Simona Stašová, Lukáš Vaculík, Pavel Nový. Screening in Czech.

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