Monday, 14 January 2013

Two Days in New York

The sequel to the 2007 film Two Days in Paris which I never saw, Two Days in New York is a romantic comedy Written, Directed by and starring Julie Delpy. Delpy plays Marion, a middle aged Parisian living in New York City with her boyfriend Mingus (Chris Rock) and her little boy and his young daughter. Their life is generally light and fun until Marion’s family comes to stay for the weekend. Franco-American relations are put to the test over the course of a weekend in which there are arrests, lies, confusion, nudity and mischief.

I never saw the original film but it didn’t matter. There was a very brief thirty second synopsis at the beginning but to be honest I wasn’t really paying attention to it and I never felt out of the loop. The film’s great strength lies in its tight and sharp script which is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. It often feels like a cross between Woody Allen at his height and a French Wes Anderson and was right up my street. Coming a close second to the script were the performances which were without exception, superbly judged.

Christ Rock’s Chris Rock persona is something that I’ve always enjoyed in small doses but can become tiring after a while. Here though he tones it down and pulls it back and is excellent. To me this is the best he’s been. I remember hearing an interview with him on the radio earlier in the year in which he sounded so relieved to be able to give a performance like this one and not be stereotyped as the fast talking, Afro Circus, Afro Circus, clown. I’d love to see him in more of this sort of film. Julie Delpy is also brilliant as a sort of neurotic Woody Allenesque character. She is often funny and angry within the same sentence and is obviously very comfortable in the role. Some of the highlights come from the supporting cast which includes Delpy’s real life father Albert. He has some great lines and is capable of producing some fantastic looks and reactions. Alexia Landeau is also really good playing the overly sexed and free spirited yet stressed out sister while Alexandre Nahon is also really fun. Vincent Gallo even has an interesting and funny albeit short cameo.

 What I really loved about the script is that it was frantic and claustrophobic just like the surroundings of the small apartment which is the setting for much of the film. Everyone was on top of each other and was getting on each other’s nerves. It made for great viewing. I laughed a lot at the clever word play, quick wittedness and general sharp dialogue. I’d really like to see another sequel and the film has made me interested in watching the original despite the lack of Chris Rock. Overall there was little that I didn’t like or didn’t enjoy. I think that the culture clash was well written from a French angle and if anything stereotyped the French more than the Americans. Occasionally a joke or remark missed the mark but for me the majority hit home and I enjoyed the entire 90 minutes.   

GFR 7/10