French tourists are obnoxious, loud, dirty, and oblivious to anything other than their petty concerns. I was under the impressions these are adjectives for American tourists when they venture over to the Old World; however, according to Julie Delpy’s new film, 2 Days in New York, French people are truly garish. Five years after her similar effort, “2 Days in Paris,” a busy and crowded New York apartment is the setting for a very disappointing movie.
Marion (Delpy) and Mingus (Chris Rock) live together with a modern, blended family setup. Marion has her toddler from a previous marriage and Mingus shares custody with his own elementary school aged daughter. They live in a cramped apartment somewhere in Manhattan but appear to be financially stable. Mingus hosts a few radio shows and writes for the Village Voice while Marion is a conceptual artist who is about to open her first solo show in a ritzy art gallery. The show opening is the impetus behind the invasion of the unbelievable French relations.
Marion’s father Jeannot (Albert Delpy) arrives with his other daughter Rose (Alexia Landeau) and her current boyfriend of the day Manu (Alexandre Nahon). Instead of comedic cultural insights or witty observations, the audience is saddled with farce and stupidity. They are delayed in customs for attempting to smuggle in 40 pounds of sausage and cheese. They cut their toe nails at the dinner table, use Mingus’ tooth brush during some off-screen sexual tryst in the bathroom, and latch on to a middle school level running gag that Mingus’s name rhymes with cunnilingus. I have been to France multiple times — where the hell were these people hiding?
Marion’s art show is based on two themes: Photographs of ex-lovers waking up in the morning showing how a relationship develops over time and the auctioning off of her soul. To the highest bidder, she will sign a contract whereby her immortal soul will be owned by another person. Sound familiar? It should — Bart Simpson sold his soul to Milhouse in a Simpson’s episode. Way to dig deep for creative inspiration there Julie.
A film with Chris Rock and Julie Delpy with New York City as a backdrop has so much promise. Why oh why did Delpy write and direct a script which is unfathomably horrible? There is a sub-plot involving a lie about a brain tumor, the relentless antics of the French family, and noticeably bad acting from Delpy. She was wonderful in “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset, but perhaps she was distracted by her director role this time.
Stay far away from 2 Days in New York, it will just let you down with thoughts of what might have been.