Julie Delpy’s quirky and incredibly French alter ego, Marion, invites an audience to New York City to spend another two hectic days with her and her wacky relatives in the new film “2 Days in New York” (2012). This film is the sequel to “2 Days in Paris” (2007) starring Julie Delpy and Adam Goldberg. Julie Delpy not only stars in both films but also directed and wrote the scripts; and it is safe to say that Delpy does not write your average rom-com. After experiencing “2 Days in Paris” I knew that the two-day madness in New York I was going to witness after pressing that play button, was going to be full of witty lines, French banter and awkward real life scenarios.
Even if you haven’t seen the prequel, the plot of “2 days in New York” is fairly easy to follow. The audience is invited into Marion’s apartment in New York where she is now living with her son from ex-boyfriend Jack, Lulu, her new boyfriend, Mingus (played by Chris Rock), and his daughter from a previous marriage, Willow. Into this full house, Marion invites her father and sister over from Paris to spend a few days together. The screws begin to loosen as soon as Marion’s father lands in New York and he gets detained at the airport for four hours after trying to smuggle in thirty pounds of sausages. In addition, Marion’s sister Rose (played by Alexia Landeau), is now dating Marion’s ex-boyfriend Manu, and has brought him on this holiday without thinking of the consequences. Marion describes Rose to Mingus as an ‘ex-nympho,’ and Mingus is subjected to Rose’s charms as she struts around the house naked within seconds of meeting him. Obviously with an unconventional family like this, problems soon arise, and the tension between Marion and Mingus grows as he becomes more frustrated with the frankness of Marion’s family. The film contains: open conversations about sex, an art show about fading relationships, Marion selling her soul and a few Thai massages to try and relax everyone.
Delpy is a great storyteller, mainly because she focuses on two themes that the audience can relate to: love and family relationships. In “2 Days in Paris” the viewer meets her parents for the first time and Marion speaks about the success of her two-year relationship with Jack but she has problems committing. Jack describes Marion like a hamster, “collecting men like nuts”. In “2 days in New York” the audience can see the development of Marion’s character who is now thirty-eight, and in a more mature relationship with Mingus, possibly inspired by her parents’ many years of marriage. In New York the audience sees more of a glimpse of the troubles of family life, as Marion is dealing with the death of her mother and also the problem of raising children. Moreover, anyone who has grown up in an international family with different languages and senses of humor will relate to the perfect, although sometimes clichéd, representations that Delpy has written in.
Delpy’s films work because they run at the pace of life and awkward conversations take place over the most mundane tasks, like making coffee or picking up breakfast. Julie Delpy proves that a film does not always need to contain epic, action sequences with special effects or scary dragons as she states, that sometimes, “life is way harder to handle than any dragon.” “2 Days in New York” definitely confirms this statement and is just as action packed with doses of explosive reality as any Hollywood action movie.