Calling back many of the same characters and more than a few of the same jokes, 2 Days in New York, Julie Delpy's fourth film as writer-director, is a sequel to her 2007 2 Days in Paris. In New York, Delpy's alter ego, Marion, returns as a mother, fortyish, and cohabiting in Manhattan with Mingus (Chris Rock), who's not the father of her kid. Mingus has his own radio call-in show, while Marion is preparing for a gallery exhibition of her photographs—double portraits of couples in bed—co-starring herself. The defining theme is "relationships fading over time," underlining the precarious state of her domestic situation, while foreboding is ramped up into crisis as Marion's family—ex-hippie father, sluttish sister, and her scuzzy boyfriend—arrive from France for a visit. Delpy's project of stripping the makeup from her charismatic screen persona extends, unfortunately, to a general slovenliness of technique. The director's guiding principle seems to be that people, especially her heroine, are imperfect, and that life is messy. But unflatteringly inverting the ideal—feminine or otherwise—is a shabby method for seeking higher truth, and if life is a jumble, that doesn't mean art necessarily should be. New York's slapdash construction can't elevate the personal to the universal, can't turn solipsism into communion.
Julie DelpyChris Rock, Julie Delpy, Vincent Gallo, Kate Burton, Dylan Baker, Brady Smith, Malinda Williams, Alex Manette, Emily Wagner, Alexia LandeauJulie DelpyMagnolia Pictures