Movie Review: 2 Days in New York


2 Days in New YorkDirected by: Julie Delpy

Starring: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, and Albert Delpy

Plot: Mingus and Marion’s relationship comes under pressure when Marion’s relatives come to visit.

Review: 

Marion (Julie Deply) is a French-transplant to New York following her dream to become an art-photographer. Along the way, she met Mingus (Chris Rock), a journalist who writes articles and has his own radio show. The two of them live a hipster lifestyle in a hipster apartment along with their kids from previous marriages: Marion’s young son, Lulu, and Mingus’ pre-tween daughter, Willow. Deply is like a female Woody Allen, all neurotic overthinking every move and freaking out when something doesn’t go right. Her frazzled personality and adorableness make for a charming mix. Her chemistry is surprisingly great with Chris Rock, who puts his usual snarky comeback delivery to good use while in conversation, but it is when he is alone that his performance really comes to life. It is a more nuanced look at a man driven to a breaking point by annoying houseguests.

I feel like it’s been a long time since I have seen the “annoying houseguest” trope. I remember a time when they were a dime a dozen, like body swapping movies. This one comes with a double dose of gimmicky comic relief courtesy of culture clash comedy. Marion’s father, Jeannot (played by Deply’s real life father), is a kook who doesn’t know the meaning of boundaries. At the same time, he is a really jolly guy who is easy to get along with and is really great with the kids (for the most part). He offers up some of the funniest humor in the movie, especially in his interactions with Mingus. When Jeannot and Mingus start conversing about 2 separate topics trying to guess their way through the language barrier, it is surprisingly funny. It helps that the subtitles clue us in to what Jeannot is saying. Marion’s sister, Rose, and her boyfriend, Manu, add much of the drama. Rose seems to flirt with anyone possibly without even noticing, and Manu is Marion’s ex who gladly shoves that fact into Mingus’s face. They seem to want to like Mingus, who they think is the quintessential cool black New Yorker, but he disappoints all their expectations. This causes them to act out and cause all sorts of problems through their passive-aggressive ways. There is ambiguousness to their misbehavior, but a little part of me thinks they were doing it on purpose the whole time.

It is a movie that is decidedly lacking in cynicism. It is only occasionally laugh out loud funny, but it keeps a mostly light-hearted tone throughout. A better word for it might be whimsical, but it is lacking any kind of fantasy element that word might imply. It is kind of the perfect companion piece to Take this Waltz, which I also recently watched. They are great depictions of the different sides to the same coin.  It is basically about appreciation, specifically who we appreciate, who appreciates us, and when and how we get appreciated.

Rating: 8/10