2 Days in New York/Deux Jours a New York

Fri, May 18, 2012, 01:00

Directed by Julie Delpy. Starring Chris Rock, Julie Delpy, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nahon, Daniel Brühl, Dylan Baker 15A cert, limited release, 96 min

MINGUS (CHRIS ROCK) and Marion (Julie Delpy) started out as a rebound relationship, but the alchemy they found together as colleagues at the Village Voice – he’s a good listener, she just won’t shut up – has translated into something like domestic bliss.

They’ve built happy, successful lives around two children from previous relationships. She’s about to launch a major art exhibition. He hosts a successful radio show.

And then Marion’s family, last seen ruining her life in 2 Days in Paris, come to stay. It’s difficult to say which of the Gallic marauders is worse. Who could choose between the bickering, abrasive sister (Alexia Landeau), her lecherous, mooching boyfriend (Alexandre Nahon, also Marion’s ex: awkward as they say in lazy sitcoms) or the hygiene-loathing, sausage-smuggling dad (Julie’s real life pater, Albert)?

Somehow, the triumvirate corner Marion into a escalating lie about a tumour, have her threatened with eviction and obliterate Mingus’s dreams of on air time with the Commander in Chief. There’s nothing like a badly timed French outburst on realpolitik to scare presidential aides away.

You don’t need to have seen 2 Days in Paris to keep up with Julie Delpy’s roughhewn but genuinely delightful sequel. Much of the humour is derived from Delpy’s canny flair for counter-casting. We’re accustomed to encountering Chris Rock as the streetwise one in Adam Sandler’s gang or the jive- talking zebra in the Madagascar, erm, sequence. Delpy writes him up as the closest thing 2 Days has in lieu of white bread. He’s called Mingus. He idolises Barrack Obama. He forms one half of a hipster, multiracial couple. His parents are bourgeois snobs.

The central gag is that the French are just as trashy as everybody else. Forget the simpering Juliet Binoche. Say au revoir to the demure Midnight in Paris. This is the madcap celebration of a nation of sulky, low-class malcontents.

“Shut up you harpies,” bellows dad at his screeching daughters. The French are revolting. In the best and worst senses of the word.