Nobody can push buttons of exasperation and pull levers of hair-trigger emotional reaction quite like family — those folks who know all of the faces of the past you’ve tried to shake and shed. That truth is borne out in Julie Delpy’s witty, winning new comedy of relationships and culture-clash, 2 Days in New York. A nominal follow-up to 2007’s 2 Days in Paris, in which Delpy played the same character with a different love interest, this rather delightful romp eschews complicated plotting to instead luxuriate in and connect via a fresh, fun, wound-up energy all its own.
French-born photographer and artist Marion (Delpy) lives comfortably with her radio talk show host boyfriend Mingus (Chris Rock) and their two children from previous relationships. But on the eve of a big show — the centerpiece of which is a conceptual piece in which she’s offering up her soul for sale, for $10,000 — Marion gets plenty of extra stress when her family arrives for a visit. This includes her over-sexed sister Rose (Alexia Landau); her sister’s outrageous, weed-obsessed boyfriend Manu (Alex Nahon), also one of Marion’s exes; and her merrily bizarre and gregarious father (Albert Delpy), who thinks showers “deplete the immune system.” Falling back into old patterns, Marion starts spinning out of control, and this new glimpse of craziness puts Mingus further on edge.
Delpy collaborated on the script with Landeau and Nahon — each of whom also reprise their characters from Paris — and it’s clear that their offscreen rapport informs much of the rapid-fire bickering and gussied-up misunderstanding that fuels the movie’s comedy. Yet Delpy’s worldview and tone — neurotic, but knowing — also echo a female Woody Allen by way of Lina Wertmüller, funky and funny without tipping over into tedium or speechifying. Much of this balancing act owes to her directorial style, which is light and playful throughout, incorporating photo montages and a bouncy score of her own composition.
The pairing of Rock and Delpy is also a true delight. It gives Rock a chance to stretch a bit and do something different while also playing to his verbal strengths. Mostly, though, 2 Days in New York simply provides a showcase for the unexpected mash-up of Rock and Delpy’s respective styles and rhythms. It’s the same premise, basically, behind Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell‘s casting in Bewitched, except that Delpy’s loose-limbed, lived-in movie is actually funny. 2 Days with this brood — in addition to what’s probably the year’s most inspired cameo appearance — will put a smile on one’s face.
Housed in a regular Blu-ray case, 2 Days in New York comes to the format via an AVC-encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track that more than adequately handles the film’s fairly straightforward aural demands. Its supplemental extras include a five-minute EPK-type piece which intersperses interview footage with clips from the movie, the film’s original theatrical trailer, and a collection of interviews with Landeau, Nahon, Rock and the Delpys from the movie’s Sundance Festival presentation. There are also two separate interviews with Rock and Delpy, the latter of which — at 22 minutes — is the disc’s crown jewel, spanning casting inspiration to production. To purchase the Blu-ray via Half, click here. Or if brick-and-mortar retail is still your thing, by all means, rock on with your bad self. B (Movie) B (Disc)