33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Delpy Turns French Stereotypes Upside Down in a Funny Farce with the Help of a Solid Rock,
This review is from: 2 Days In New York (Amazon Video)
Julie Delpy really has a good ear for shrewdly observational, overlapping conversations. It started with her Richard Linklater-directed bookends, 1995's Before Sunrise and 2004's Before Sunset, in which she and Ethan Hawke contributed much of their own dialogue (and earned adapted screenplay Oscar nominations for the latter). She then translated her unique gift to her own sophomore directorial effort, 2007's 2 Days in Paris, a romantic dramedy that mined her character's repressed hesitancies about settling down with a neurotic, irritating interior decorator named Jack. Delpy comes back again as the star, director, and writer (this time partnering with co-star Alexia Landeau, who plays her sister Rose) of this 2012 sequel, a culture clash comedy paced like a free-for-all French farce. Although the results are not always fortuitous, her aptitude as a filmmaker has clearly improved since Paris, this time aided by a far more likable leading man, an atypically subdued Chris Rock versus the insufferable Adam Goldberg who is blessedly absent from this film.
Delpy herself plays the same character, artist Marion Dupré, picking up her life in New York a few years after she broke up with Jack, had his baby, and moved in with Mingus, a talk-radio host. Instead of wallowing in commitment issues, Marion is now juggling a busy life raising her towheaded toddler Lulu as well as Mingus' young daughter Willow, and at the same time, getting ready for an exhibit of her photographs at a gallery. Nevertheless, she is still the same intensely self-doubting woman, a Gallic Annie Hall for the millennium with a saucy temperament. Her relationship with the ever-patient Mingus is put to the test when her recently widowed father Jeannot, her passive-aggressive sister Rose, and Rose's clueless, pot-smoking boyfriend Manu all come for a weekend visit. Delpy wisely uses Mingus as the audience's proxy watching her family as exaggerated caricatures of French stereotypes. This is where she shows a genuinely deft hand in presenting everyone's vitriolic, self-absorbed behavior including Marion who is constantly goaded into childishness by Rose's indirect insults. In fact, her family becomes a comical circus sideshow, a constant public embarrassment forcing Marion to tell a whopper of a lie about a phony brain tumor to her nasty neighbors who want her evicted.
Where Delpy goes a bit too far is the somewhat surreal part when Marion decides to sell her soul as part of the exhibit and tries to get it back from the Mephistophelian buyer, who is none other than indie filmmaker Vincent Gallo. Using such an extreme plot conceit, she appears to be overreaching on deeper issues of identity and family loss, but the movie eventually recovers its comic rhythm. The puppet show framing device is trite but probably effective for those who had not seen the previous film. As Mingus, Rock grounds the film with his terrifically caustic performance, whether dealing with the next appalling act of his unpredictable in-laws or talking privately to a cardboard cut-out of Obama for spiritual guidance. Albert Delpy, Julie's real-life father, returns as the Bad Santa-like Jeannot and has a grand time portraying his character's whimsical child-like manner. Landeau has a good time playing the selfish sister from hell as Rose, while Alexandre Nahon, who helped with the development of the story, easily plays the boorish interloper that is Manu. Kate Burton and especially Dylan Baker have a few moments to shine as the intrusive neighbors. Delpy's obvious role model continues to be early-period Woody Allen, and she manages to work in his oeuvre with surprising fluidity.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 11, 2012 7:01:55 AM PDT
Sheryl Fechter says:
Ed Uyeshima--Thank you for taking your time to write this up so in depth. I probably would have skipped out on this one as I am not a big fan of Delpy per se, although after reading this it gave me a new perspective for viewing her. I did so enjoy the 'Before Sunrise' and 'Before Sunset' movies and was glad you included background info on those for others to see! This is a rather unforced and funny movie overall and I enjoyed the view. And yes "Rock" was "Solid". Sheryl
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 10:04:43 AM PDT
Ed Uyeshima says:
Thanks for your kind words, Sheryl. Delpy has her idiosynscrasies, but she seems to be getting more confident as a filmmaker even if she is turning into a Gallic Woody. Too bad she plans to give up acting since I find her quite funny.
Posted on Jul 15, 2012 6:34:30 PM PDT
golden hawk says:
I only rented this cause of your review, Ed. SO FUNNY. I needed that. You da man. :)
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