When New York-based Parisian Marion’s family come from France to visit her things don’t exactly go to plan. Her sister brings an uninvited [uncivilised] guest, her Dad doesn’t know how to behave and they all drive her American partner Mingus crazy. Can their relationship survive her family’s visit? Find out in the review of Two Days in New York after the jump.
Marion (Julie Deply) is a French artist and photographer who lives in New York with her new partner Mingus (Chris Rock) and her son from a previous relationship (with Jack, who featured in 2 Days in Paris). Marion is happy and in a good place in her life – both personally and professionally – she has a new show of her photographic work opening, and things between her and Mingus have never been better. Marion invites her father and sister to come from France to meet Mingus and attend the opening night of the show.
Marion’s joy at seeing her family soon turns to frustration, as everything that could go wrong inevitably does. Her father is detained at customs, her sister who starts judging her and arguing with her from the moment she arrives has bought along her boyfriend, who is only really interested in getting high. Mingus, trying to be a good host and partner puts up with their antics, but eventually runs out of patience. Marion’s family is not only being awful and annoying in general, but they are bringing out a side in her that Mingus doesn’t like.
While I haven’t seen 2 Days in Paris I can imagine that the same type of humour was employed. It’s a real clash of the cultures/language barriers humour which often tries to play off stereotypes against each other (i.e the conservative Americans vs. the liberal Europeans). There are moments when this is very funny, but unfortunately it gets old quite quickly. There are only so many gags you can sit through before they ultimately become more annoying than amusing.
The highlight in this film is undoubtedly Chris Rock, who is effectively playing the part of the audience. He is berated and tested by the family, who eventually wear him down. It was great to see him in a more straight role, and my favourite part of the film were the monologues on the state of his life, which he delivered [with style] to a cardboard cutout of Barrack Obama. While the character of Marion’s father often annoyed me, I thought the performance from Albert Delpy was quite comical, and he really did sell the character.
While I enjoyed parts of this film, I couldn’t help but wonder what the point was. It was a bunch of upper-class people with really teeny tiny problems that weren’t all that funny. Deply’s direction was fine, and she made good use of various locations in New York City (which I enjoyed seeing), but I found it hard to engage with the film or invest in any of the characters, apart from that of Mingus, who appeared to be as baffled and irritated as I often was while watching it.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Julie Delpy
Writer(s): Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nohan
Starring: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Albert Delpy
Runtime: 96 minutes
Release date(s): Australia: November 22 2012; USA: August 10 2012; New Zealand: no date set