Julie Delpy turns her hand to multitasking once more (she’s credited as co-producer, co-write, director, and star) as she reprises his role of the perilously romantic artist Marion in this slight, yet witty and engaging follow up to 2007’s 2 Days in Paris.
As the title suggests, Marion has now swapped her Parisian domicile for an apartment in the Big Apple which she shares with her young son (whose father was her boyfriend in ‘Paris’) a cat and new bloke Mingus (Chris Rock, completed with hipster goatee) and his young daughter.
The couple’s peaceful existence is severely tested when Marion’s brash and uncouth family pay a visit from over the pond. Having to contend with her forward younger sister Rose (Alexia Landeau), her elderly, rambunctious father (played by Delpy’s real-life Pops, Albert) and Rose’ obnoxious boyfriend Mau (Alexandre Nahon) places a strain on her and Mingus’ relationship. All this also happens to land right in the middle of Marion’s upcoming photo exhibition, and the chaos threatens to send the already highly-strung artist over the edge.
For this unexpected but entirely welcoming sequel, Delpy may have switched countries but much of the humour which characterised the first film is alive and well here. This time, instead of the fish-out-of-water scenario experienced by his boyfriend Jack in Paris, it’s now her family who are there to mine the many cultural differences for humour.
On the subject of her ex, the absence of actor Adam Goldberg and his rapid-free neurosis is missed a little this time around, although Chris Rock is a surprisingly decent replacement, toning down his usual larger-than-life persona to create an appealing character whose calming and considerate attitude presents the perfect foil for Marion’s own anxiety-riddled, impulsive qualities.
As mentioned, the biggest laughs stem from the ignorance and aloofness of her visitors, and Delpy seems happen to perpetuate and exploit the cultural clichés of her countryman for all they’re worth (a very funny exchanges occurs when Manu, trying to make small talk with Mingus, asks if he’s into the now long-time defunct female hip-hop duo Salt ‘N’ Pepper, to which Minus replies, “what, the condiments?”)
Another returning feature is Delpy’s faux naïve voiceover exploring the meaning of love and happiness, accompanied by fantasy interludes (which are a little reminiscent of Miranda July). But with her chunky black-framed glasses, it’s not hard to figure out which celebrated and cerebral filmmaking is really being paid homage to, and like that famous Manhattan resident, Delpy has fashioned her own sweet tribute to her adopted city, along with a similarly disarming romantic outlook.
There’s enough broadly-drawn humour within the film to attract both an audience who usually gravitate towards more traditional rom-coms and also fans of Delpy’s previous work, as she once again proves her talents behind the camera are an equal to that of her as a performer. Plus, any film which can rope in the notoriously spiky Vincent Gallo to do a hilarious, self-deprecating cameo is definitely worth your time and money.