There is one really smart gag in Julie Delpy's slighter follow-up to the already slight 2 Days in Paris: her artist character, Marion, decides to sell her soul as an artistic statement-cum-media stunt, allowing her to present herself as "the soulless Marion Dupré". But soullessness is, however, the exact opposite problem the hyphenate French filmmaker has: if anything, she is over-souled, as seen in the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink free-for-all of this sequel to her own directing debut. Ms. Delpy has since directed two other features, among which the much more interesting Le Skylab, but her boundless energy and spirit seems totally unharnessed in this hectic farce where there's too much happening at the same time.

     The film shifts its culture-clash humour from Americans in France to Frenchmen in America, as Marion's father (ms. Delpy's own father Albert), sister (Alexia Landeau) and ex-boyfriend (Alex Nahon) come visit for the opening of her art show and immediately start getting on the nerves of her new boyfriend Mingus (Chris Rock) and throwing all sorts of obstacles at their relationship. Cue basic tourist jokes, harried family problems and some smartish deadpan humour about family, love and apartment buzzers that brings to mind a female Woody Allen. The result, however, is overburdened, overloaded, ultimately all over the place, never focussing long enough on any of its plot points (not even the interesting ones) for them to coalesce. It's a busy film whose busy-ness is its undoing, and even though its third act attempts at gravity raise interesting points, 2 Days in New York never really coheres. It's hardly a waste, though, since Ms. Delpy's predilection for ensemble casts as opposed to star performances and generosity of spirit as a directing actress mean there's always something truthful going on and the actors are a pleasure to behold.

Cast: Chris Rock, Julie Delpy, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alex Nahon, Daniel Brühl

Director, composer: Ms. Delpy
Screenplay: Ms. Delpy and Ms. Landeau, from a story by Ms. Delpy, Ms. Landeau and Mr. Nahon
Cinematography: Lubomir Bakchev (colour)
Designer: Judy Rhee
Costumes: Rebecca Hofherr
Editor: Isabelle Devinck
Producers: Ms. Delpy, Ulf Israel, Jean-Jacques Neira, Hubert Toint, Christophe Mazodier, Scott Franklin (Polaris Film Finance & Production, Tempête Sous Un Crâne Production, Senator Filmproduktion, Saga Film in association with Alvy Productions, In Productions, TDY Filmproduktion, Protozoa Pictures, Rézo Films, in co-production with BNP Paribas Fortis Film Fund)
France/Germany/Belgium/USA, 2012, 96 minutes

Screened: distributor advance press screening, UCI El Corte Inglés 12, Lisbon, July 17th 2012


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