Here's all you need to know about "2 Days in New York," written and directed by Julie Delpy, who also stars in it: The usually highly animated Chris Rock plays the calm, reasonable center. Around Rock swirls a head-spinning, credulity-stretching madcap family comedy-drama, much of it taking place in whispered, hissed or shouted French. Oh, and Buffalo's own Vincent Gallo shows up as himself.
The story is this: Mingus (Rock) and his partner, Marion (Delpy), have a good life together in Manhattan with their children from previous relationships - his daughter, Willow, and her son, unaccountably named Lulu.
We are told through a puppet show in the opening that Marion has divorced Jack, her partner in the 2007 film, "2 Days in Paris." Now grandfather Jeannot, played by Delpy's real father, Albert Delpy, plans to visit, with Marion's sister, Rose (Alexia Landeau), and unexpectedly, Rose's lover, Manu (Alexandre Nahon). Nahon and Landeau also co-wrote this film.
Papa Jeannot, a cuddly, opinionated bear of a man with a Santa Claus beard and a lecherous edge, spends four hours in customs being divested of the fragrant sausages and cheeses he has tried to smuggle inside his clothes. The arrival of Manu is particularly vexing for Marion, because he was one of her exes. He's also a weed-smoking, loudmouthed jackass. He calls a drug dealer to deliver to Mingus and Marion's apartment because he's afraid to buy on the street: "It's dangerous! I'll get raped! This is New York!" he whines en francais.
Marion's sister Rose also has her, shall we say, quirks. She walks through the apartment naked in front of Mingus, she wears a loose tank top without a bra to a yoga class, with predictable results during downward dog.
The family tsunami arrives at a stressful time for Marion - she is opening an important show of her photographs, which explore the stages of romantic relationships through photos of herself in bed with various partners through the years. She has managed to make the relationships look deadly boring and herself look dreadful in the photos.
Unaccountably (and that is a word I could use in front of almost every sentence in this review) she has also decided to sell her soul through a written contract at this show. She hopes to get $10,000 for her soul, even if none of the photos sell.
A neighbor's complaint leads Marion to tell an enormous lie, she and her sister get into a slapfest in front of an important man, and Mingus has semi-humorous conversations with a life-sized cardboard figure of President Obama. Oh, and a door buzzer that is so loud and harsh that it makes everybody jump must be fixed - immediately!
I won't reveal why the vaguely menacing Gallo turns up, but in a movie where Delpy's real dad plays her father, it's still jarring to have him introduce himself as "Vincent Gallo, the actor, the director, the poet, the model, the motorcycle racer, the legend."
If you have a high tolerance for yelling, arguing, crudeness, characters that are mostly caricature, near-slapstick (with some real slaps) and bizarre behavior, this is an unaccountably enjoyable movie.
2 Days In New yORK
Two and 1/2 stars (Out of four)
Starring: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nahon
Director: Julie Delpy
Running time: 91 minutes
Rating: R for language, brief nudity, sexual content? and some drug use.
The Lowdown: A wacky? French family visits New York a few days before an important gallery show. Oh, and the main character sells her soul.