September 14, 2012 in Features

‘New York’ continues wackiness of ‘Paris’

Chris Hewitt Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
 

Of course the self-deprecating and funny Julie Delpy would make a film as self-deprecating and funny as “2 Days in New York.”

A boisterous continuation of Delpy’s “2 Days in Paris,” “New York” finds Marion, played by the effervescent Delpy, in a different city with a different American partner (the straight man in the movie, he’s played by a very low-key Chris Rock). But it’s still about how nutty those French people are.

Charmingly, “2 Days” buys into every stereotype about the French: They’re always naked, they don’t bathe, they’ll fight about anything. And then it shows how even those annoying qualities are oddly delightful.

The occasion for “2 Days” is a visit by Marion’s wacky family. They’re led by her freewheeling dad (played by Delpy’s real dad, Albert) and her libidinous sister (Alexia Landeau, affirming another French stereotype).

There’s not much for plot in “2 Days,” but who needs it when virtually every meal, mail delivery or trip to the park offers myriad opportunities for one member of Marion’s family to insult, embarrass or make an inappropriate sexual advance to another member of her family?

In fact, the only time Delpy runs into trouble is with a stab at a plot, a climactic moment of danger that does not fit with the rest of the movie. Like “Paris,” the appeal of “New York” is that it gives us a half-dozen characters who are fun to spend 90 minutes with, even if they would not be fun to spend a weekend with.

Both movies are light, seemingly effortless comedies that delight in pointing out the characters’ annoying and peculiar bits of behavior. There’s no great theme; Delpy would never impose a lesson on her movie. But it’s nevertheless clear that she believes people are crazy and infuriating, and that is what makes them so swell.

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