As you may have guessed, 2 Days in New York is the sequel to Julie Delpy’s acclaimed 2007 film 2 Days in Paris. What you may not be able to guess, however, is why Delpy, playing the part of Marion (which is really just herself–it’s very evocative of Woody Allen in that regard) would tamper with the bittersweet perfection of her first Parisian jaunt with Adam Goldberg as the charmingly neurotic Jack. The premise remains vaguely the same, only this time, Marion has replaced the role of her significant other with a man named Mingus (Chris Rock, who I have newfound respect for in being able to deal with having said character’s name). Although Jack has remained in the life of their son, Lulu (Owen Shipman), Mingus has been the central father figure in his life ever since Marion moved in with him.
The victim of two divorces, Mingus is empathetic toward Marion. Their initial meeting with one another was working at The Village Voice, where Marion frequently found herself confiding in Mingus about Jack, her blow job dexterity and how she felt like her love life was over at the age of 37. Mingus, oddly enough, was attracted to this level of raw emotion and the two have been coexisting in perfect Manhattan harmony ever since (which is to say, thriving on chaos). Since Mingus also has a daughter–one that Marion frequently points out is a bit too on the macabre side–it works out for both of them in terms of blending households. That is, until Marion’s exhibitionist sister, Rose (Alexia Landeau), uncouth father, Jeannot (Albert Delpy) and her ex, Manu (Alexandre Nahon), who is now fucked upedly dating Rose, breeze into town to stay with them.
The reason for their two day visit to New York is due to Marion’s impending art exhibit, at which she will sell her soul (for the preferred price of ten thousand dollars). With her insecurities mounting (about both her relationship and her career as an artist), Mingus starts to notice a palpable shift in her behavior–one that he doesn’t much care for. In fact, he finds himself talking to a cardboard cut out of Barack Obama for guidance.
As the tension between them mounts, it seems the drama of the movie diminishes, leaving nothing but manic and aberrant rambling on the part of Marion. The story doesn’t really pick up again until the third act, when the buyer of Marion’s soul (for the reduced price of five thousand dollars) is revealed to be Vincent Gallo. At first wishing to remain anonymous, Marion demands to meet with the buyer in order to reclaim her soul (she attributes her current mercurial behavior to selling it). Gallo, however, refuses to return the intangible item, sending Marion further down the spiral of her emotional roller coaster.
As she continues to plead with Gallo to relinquish her soul (which he keeps in a small satchel near Chloe Sevigny’s favorite part of his body), Mingus and the rest of her family are left wondering where she has disappeared. When she finally returns to the apartment, Mingus has had enough time to question their entire relationship, demanding to know if this is the person she really is or the person she is when her family enters into the equation.
But even Delpy isn’t cynically French enough to end what is hopefully the final installment of this 2 Days series in a negative light. Even so, she does employ a line of dialogue toward the end of the movie while hanging off the edge of a balcony against an atrociously overt green screen that accents a certain woeful tinge: “Before that sad ending that awaits all of us, maybe we can share beautiful ephemeral moments with the people we love.” And, ultimately, that is precisely what she chooses to do with Mingus (and I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with her unexpected pregnancy).