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2 Days in New York - Film Review

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by Miyan (subscribe)
I'm a a part-time vocal coach and a mom of three lovely kids. I have a passion in writing besides music and languages.
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2 Days in New York
2 Days in New York poster

The best of French and American actors join together in this funny, yet not so funny, film.

A fusion of cultural behaviours, unwitting racism, language misunderstanding, and sexual frankness turn this film into a comic mayhem of an otherwise functional interracial relationship. The chaos starts when Marion's French family came to visit her in New York for her debut photo exhibition. Her jovial father Jeannot (Albert Delpy), her exhibitionist sister Rose (Alexia Landeau), and Rose's uncanny and audacious boyfriend Manu (Alex Nahon), all stay in a tiny apartment shared by Marion (Julie Delpy) and her boyfriend Mingus (Chris Rock), who is a radio announcer and journalist. Marion and Mingus have their own children living with them from previous partners, not to mention a cat.

2 Days in New York
is a sequel to 2 Days in Paris, both directed and co-written by Julie Delpy who also plays the role of Marion in the movie. The viewers are filled in with the backstory through narration and a domestic puppet show. Overall, the dynamic combination of the main characters is the tour de force of this film.

The plot of the story is so sincere and so relatable that in itself becomes the groundwork for humour. For example, the amusement one shares by associating a name with something else (in this case, Mingus' name rhyming with the word cunnilingus), the vulnerability, confusion, and awkwardness one feels when surrounded by people talking in a language one does not understand, the frustration in a telephone conversation when one has to spell out a name and does not know the phonetic alphabet table, and the most hilarious of all is the innocent nipple slip in yoga class. The comical dialogue is exchanged at a swift pace and in overlapping languages. Viewers must be quick to read the subtitle to understand what the commotion is all about (mostly sisters' squabbles). The duality of Marion's personality becomes a revelation to a conventional Mingus, as he realises that his delightful partner can turn into a 'psycho-bitch' when around her family.

Magnolia Pictures

Although Delpy's approach to film as a director may generally be seen with ingenious humour and originality, she still clings on to old satirical clichés by putting custom-check scene where Jeannot and Manu are detained for trying to sneak in French sausages and cheeses, and Delpy's monologue to an inanimate object (President Obama's life-sized image). These are the 'I've seen that shot before' acts that are supposed to be funny but have been overused in so many films that the effect is not as funny anymore.

Delpy tries to show her viewers the city of New York from the eyes of Marion's tourist family through fast forward shots and city snap shots. Ultimately, the film is somewhat disengaged from its funny intention when Marion insults an important critic during the gallery exhibition and when she tries to get back her conceptual art piece (her soul) from her buyer. All of a sudden, there was an exchange of ethical and philosophical beliefs that seem to be out of proportion. Strangely enough, there was also an unexpected touch of symbolism in saving a bird and in splattering unfriendly characters with pigeon excretes.

Relating to the critic's comment about Marion's gallery exhibition, this film has all the good intention but lacks in execution. The funny side of the story is excellent but the overall artistic cohesion lacks structure.

2 Days in New York is a rated R film and will be coming to your favourite theatre soon.

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Why? Sexual frankness and cultural stereotyping will make you laugh!
Where: In selected cinemas
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