Sunday, July 01, 2012

“2 Days In New York” – Movie Review




This weekend, my movie class had a bonus screening of the romantic comedy “2 Days In New York” starring Chris Rock and Julie Delpy.



When a woman’s family visits her from France, they stay in her tiny Manhattan apartment – but after tensions mount with her live-in boyfriend, will this threaten their relationship?



When Marion (Delpy) realizes her marriage has fallen apart shortly after giving birth to a son, she shares her tale of woe to her colleague and confidant Mingus (Rock).  Over time, a bond forms between the two and eventually, they become romantically involved, with Marion moving herself and her son into his apartment.  Sharing the space with Mingus’ daughter Willow, they try to make a go of things as both seek career advancement while balancing personal and family life.  With the four of them crammed into the small space that’s barely enough room for Mingus and Willow, they try to carve out something of a family. 

Marion’s father Jeannot, a widower, contacts her to say that he and her sister Rose will make the trek from France to visit her in New York City.  Unable to afford the big city hotels, Marion offers to put them up in the apartment she shares with Mingus and the children.  Upon their arrival in town, things are already chaotic – Jeannot is detained by guards from Homeland Security for trying to bring various foods into the country.  To make matters worse, Rose has decided to bring her boyfriend Manu to join them in the already cramped apartment – and as if things aren’t awkward enough, the crazy Manu is also Marion’s ex-boyfriend!

The stress of having the entire family living together over the course of a few days sets everyone’s nerves on edge – Mingus is getting sick of the fighting and other disruptions being caused and Marion is put out by the fact that Mingus is airing all of their dirty laundry on his local radio show.  Meanwhile, Marion is stressing out over the showing of her photographs at a downtown art gallery, fearing negative reviews from art critics and resulting meager sales.  Between the neighbors complaining about the visitors and their children being negatively influenced by their presence, will this cause Marion and Mingus to break up? 



In the intent of full disclosure, I will admit upfront that I am a Julie Delpy fan – always have been and probably always will be.  Having said that, however, I cannot recommend her directorial debut, “2 Days In New York”, which she also co-wrote.  As what appears to be an attempt at a Woody Allen-style retread at a quirky romantic comedy, the attempts at comedy are rather weak, at best; not even Chris Rock – who is one of the best stand-up comedians around – comes across at anything more than mildly amusing.  In the credits at the end, there is one writer credited with “Additional Dialog” – presumably, someone who came in at the last minute in an effort to punch-up the script with jokes.  It didn’t work. 

Although the movie is only an hour and a half long, it feels much longer and eventually wears on your nerves – much as I imagine the visitors were supposed to be wearing on the nerves of the main characters.  There are so many plot contrivances in the script that you just have to wonder how the writers thought an audience would buy into the foolishness.  The attempts at cute, charming characters and situations only results in some obnoxious, pretentious leads that wind up in unrealistic situations. 

It may just be that this was Delpy sticking her toe in the water as a filmmaker and she’ll either never attempt it again or learn from her mistakes to discover the elusive secret of how to make good movies.  It is always nice to see Delpy on screen and “2 Days In New York” is no exception – the overall quality of the movie itself notwithstanding.  You can’t help but think that she really missed a bet by not allowing Rock to improvise more in the script; certainly he would’ve come up with snappier dialog than any of the credited screenwriters.  


No comments:

Post a Comment

Speak Your Piece, Beeyotch!