Thursday, 7 June 2012
'2 Days in New York' review:
Chris Rock and Julie Delpy form an appealing on-screen couple in '2 Days in New York', as local radio personality Mingus and struggling artist Marion - two perennial malcontents whose fragile equilibrium is disrupted by a visit from the latter's French family, to amusing effect. Rock, a big talent who's never really found Hollywood a perfect fit, really shines here, playing laid-back and charming where he would usually be typecast as loud and manic. Delpy, who wrote and directed this sequel to her earlier '2 Days in Paris', is radiant as ever and with that same attractive quality of not taking herself - or her status as a glamorous movie star - too seriously, whilst paradoxically giving the impression of having a tremendous intellect.
A lot of the film's humour is self-depreciating, but not in a way that feels condescending to the audience: Marion's worries and concerns, about her fading beauty and embarrassing relatives, seem genuine, even autobiographical in spite of her undeniable elegance. There is a deeply personal feel to '2 Days in New York' that is best exemplified by the continued casting of Delpy's real-life father (Albert Delpy) as Marion's father Jeannot - a scruffy but adorable old gentleman who falls somewhere between an unkempt vagrant and a beloved grandpa. A Los Angeles resident and naturalised US citizen, Delpy writes the cross-cultural comedy in a way that feels authentic, if exaggerated for comic effect.
In fact the whole things fritters unevenly between a small-scale, dialogue-driven romantic comedy, in the tradition of Woody Allen, and a much broader farce - perhaps in the tradition of older, zanier Woody Allen. Both aspects work and are funny in isolation, but the mix between urbane maturity and the bigger, more whimsical moments makes the film feel scattershot.
'2 Days in New York' is on a limited release in the UK, rated '15' by the BBFC.