As a means to explain the background to 2 Days in New York, Julie Delphy’s co-written and directed follow on from her 2007 film 2 Days in Paris, Delphy’s character Marion puts on a hand puppet show for her son Lulu. Marion is no longer with her son’s father: Jack. Whether or not we have saw their relationship begin to implode during 2 days in Paris, the hand puppet show reminds or fills in the gaps for the audience.
Marion is now living happily in New York with Mingus (Chris Rock) and his daughter Willow from one of his two previous marriages. With Marion’s new photography exhibit coming up, Marion’s father – Delphy’s real-life father Albert Delphy reprising the role of Jeannot and sister Rose (Alexia Landeau who co-writes) arrive for a visit for the aforementioned two days. However, Rose has unexpectedly brought along her current boyfriend Manu (Alexandre Nahon) who also happens to be an ex of Marion’s. Add into the mixture bi-lingual misunderstandings and mistranslations, sibling bickering and a father full of the joys of food and life and Delphy serves up one very entertaining film.
New York is portrayed as bright, colourful and welcoming. Delphy makes use of wonderful photo montages that are edited to perfection in a rapid fire manner to capture the bright lights and vibrancy of the city. With Editor Isabelle Devinck, Delphy inserts a 30 second photography love letter to every conceivable tourist spot in New York which is just one of the many highlights within this film. The cinematography used for the film reflects a love of the city and its possibilities making the viewer want to move there immediately or at the very least go for a visit as soon as possible.
The casting of Chris Rock is nothing short of ingenious and Delphy never over plays any of the elements she has injected into her film. Each scene feels organic and moves at a pace that allows room for this great comedic script. None of the scenes or scenarios feel forced or clichéd though Delphy is clearly exploiting a ‘French fish out of water’ tack. Real issues regarding aging, life, relationships, family, love and bereavement are all woven into the fabric of the film without the need for obvious sign postings or a lull in the flow of the script.
Albert Delphy is outstanding as Jeannot and his scenes with Chris Rock in particular are so absurdist as to be touching on the magical. The film culminates in Marion’s exhibition night and includes the showpiece of Marion signing a contract selling off her soul to an anonymous buyer. Who this buyer turns out to be ratchets up the quality of the script to even more lofty heights and makes this scene an unexpected diamond in this film’s already sparkling crown.
2 Days in New York channels all the best elements of a Woody Allen New York film but puts a French comedic twist to each scene. Funny, intelligent, kind and well paced this is a welcome member to Delphy’s impressive body of work.