2 Days in New York – Cross-cultural confusion for Julie Delpy and Chris Rock

If Woody Allen had been born a neurotic blonde Frenchwoman instead of a neurotic New Yorker, he might very well have come up with 2 Days in New York, Julie Delpy’s quirky follow-up as writer, director and star to her bittersweet 2007 romantic comedy 2 Days in Paris.

Back then Delpy’s frazzled photographer was struggling to cope with amorous exes and eccentric parents during a fleeting visit to Paris with her American boyfriend (Adam Goldberg). Now she’s living in New York with a new partner, Chris Rock’s journalist Mingus, and their respective children from previous relationships.

Once again, though, anarchic French attitudes collide with stuffier American codes when Marion’s widowed father (Delpy’s real-life father, Albert Delpy) and flighty sister Rose (Alexia Landeau, the film’s co-writer) come to stay, accompanied by Rose’s sleazy boyfriend Manu (Alex Nahon), who just happens to be one of the exes we saw in the first film.

From the moment Marion’s père gets arrested at the airport for trying to smuggle French sausages and cheeses through customs, Delpy again ramps up the cross-cultural confusions for exaggerated comic effect, yet this time the joke is wearing thin.

When Marion fibs to her neighbours that she has a brain tumour or when she tries to sell her soul as a conceptual art work, you can see Delpy striving for the comic angst that Woody Allen mines so successfully, but there simply aren’t enough laughs to make the film more than mildly diverting – though stand-up Rock, playing the straight man for a change, does a good job as the relatively sane figure amid the Gallic madness swirling around him, and the identity of the eventual buyer of Marion’s soul is definitely worth a chuckle.

On general release from Friday 11th May.

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