'2 Days In New York' (UK Release: 18 May '12) // Words: Lauren Johnson-Ginn
Co-written, directed by and starring Julie Delpy, '2 Days In New York' is a remarkable feat of multi-tasking. It’s also a witty culture-clash comedy that showcases the oft-overlooked acting talents of Chris Rock, with hilarious results.
Although '2 Days In New York' is a follow-up to 2007’s '2 Days In Paris', you won’t be troubled if (like me) you haven’t seen the preceding instalment. We’re given the lowdown on the story so far through the charming medium of sock puppetry – Marion (Julie Delpy) is a professional photographer and mother living in New York with her relatively new boyfriend, radio presenter Mingus (Chris Rock).
All is going swimmingly for the pair until Marion’s boisterous father Jeannot (Albert Delpy, Julie's real-life father) and sex-crazed sister Rose (Alexia Landeau) come to New York for an impromptu visit, bringing with them Manu (Alexandre Nahon) – Rose’s feckless boyfriend and Marion’s ex.
The possibilities for awkwardness are endless, and these are exploited to full effect as Mingus strives to get on with Marion’s perturbingly uninhibited and tactile family, overcome the Franco-American language barrier and keep his relationship intact as Marion becomes increasingly neurotic. Through a series of farcical encounters, the film explores the idiosyncrasies of family, and the complex politics of relationships.
Although the characters inevitably felt somewhat exaggerated for comic effect, I was impressed by the realism of the script. The dialogue is fast, frank, honest and crude, and with much of the action taking place in Marion and Mingus’ claustrophobic apartment, the scenes have a convincing naturalistic quality – with perhaps the exception of the stylised montage (and dream) sequences.
The film starts to unravel slightly towards the end, losing some of its giddy momentum and believability thanks to a bizarre plot twist. But with fantastic performances from the entire cast, genuine emotional resonance and some brilliantly funny dialogue, I think these sins are permissible.
'2 Days In New York' is released in UK cinemas on 18 May through Network Releasing.