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2 Days in New York - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
2 Days in New York
Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: A-
Cinematography: B
Editing: B+

Here's a part you wouldn't expect to see Chris Rock in: as the pseudo-intellectual boyfriend who appears to be the only sane person in the room whenever his girlfriend's family is around. His character, Mingus, is the latest in a long line of relationships with Marion (Julie Delpy), who we met five years ago in 2 Days in Paris. Full disclosure: I had never seen 2 Days in Paris until just last week. It's a lovely meditation on a modern cross-cultural relationship and its breakdown.

Thus, the boyfriend in 2 Days in Paris is not the boyfriend in 2 Days in New York. And truth be told, this movie easily stands on its own and hardly feels like a sequel. You could watch them in reverse order, really, and be none the wiser, due in large part to Delpy's timeless looks. She doesn't really look like she's aged. She's clearly got a talent for telling these stories, though; she directed and wrote both films. Both are absolutely worth a look.

That said, before, we accompanied Marion's trip home to visit her family in Paris. This time, the family is visiting her in New York, and they are nearly all the same: Marion's exhibitionist sister Rose (Alexia Landeau), and her father, Jeannot (Julie's father, Albert Delpy). She even has the same cat. Marion's mother has since passed away, however, so instead we get Rose's infantile boyfriend, Manu (Alexandre Nahon), who along with Rose is the source of many of the problems. Jeannot isn't exactly blameless; he still has a penchant for keying cars.

Mingus is a radically different partner for Marion than the last boyfriend was, and somehow they both feel entirely plausible. Delpy seems to have a knack for inhabiting a character that is vastly adaptable, while at the same time slightly unstable. She is surrounded by craziness, and is a little bit crazy herself, and yet it all feels natural.

And funny: this movie elicits plenty of laughter. Tonally it's very much on par with its predecessor. The two movies could be combined to make a solid three-hour movie with two acts. Maybe the nutty French relatives would overstay their welcome in that amount of time. Ninety minutes once every five years seems to work well.

There's not much of a plot, exactly. The movie is just as the title suggests: we slip into these people's lives, and slip out of it. It's a couple of days separate from the mundane; a brief upheaval. Marion is an artist and as part of a conceptual stunt at her gallery she's literally selling her soul. This provides some surprisingly compelling sequences. All of them based on dialogue. This is all people talking, for the most part. How would you feel if you literally sold your soul, even if you don't believe a soul exists? It's an interesting question and it's fun to see Delpy explore it.

There's not a whole lot of waxing philosophical, though. There isn't even a particular conflict to provide a catalyst or Major Breakthrough. We're sort of just visiting these people for a couple of days. Somehow, it works. At least this time the ending isn't so sad.

2 Days in New York

Overall: B+
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