IN 2007, Julie Delpy wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the generally charming 2 Days in Paris, a whirlwind look at the clashing cultural values of Paris-born photographer Marion (Delpy) and her husband Jack (Adam Goldberg). Jack's nowhere to be found in Delpy's newest, 2 Days in New York; these days, Marion is married to Mingus (Chris Rock), a Village Voice writer turned radio host (he's cornered the New York market on jobs that pretty much no longer exist). The couple share custody of two children from previous marriages, living quite happily in their tiny apartment—until Marion's family descends for a visit.
Her family is a crass assortment of French stereotypes, sleazy and slutty and a little bit racist; like 2 Days in Paris, 2 Days in New York makes its hay in playing up cultural differences, the thrust of which seems to be that the French are very, very hard to deal with.
Delpy openly courts Woody Allen comparisons here, but—more so than in Paris—her limiting factor is humor. New York just isn't funny, though it strains to be; Delpy's family members are high-volume caricatures, and her own character's intensity is hard to take after about 15 minutes. She's not interestingly neurotic—she's just batshit. For much of the film, Delpy is preparing for a gallery exhibit of her photographs, where she also plans to sell her soul to the highest bidder; the film seems blithely unaware that stunt is pulled on eBay every few years.
Most of the film's jokes resemble outtakes from a high school French class skit-writing assignment: Le pére de Marion cachait une saucisse dans son pantalon! (Yes, Marion's dad does indeed hide a sausage in his pants.) What's meant as a wacky family comedy about cultural difference just translates as low-hanging fruit.