From its culture-crash plotline to its themes of jealousy, meddling in-laws and misinterpreted text messages, much of Julie Delpy’s second directorial stab (after 2002’s Looking For Jimmy) feels familiar at first.
That she’s able to tiptoe around cliché (except where it allows her to score a barbed wisecrack at both Yank and Gallic expense) and serve up a romantic tale that’s fresh, lively and bloody funny is testament to 2 Days In Paris’ quality.
As the French-American amours (Marion a photographer with a wonky eye, Jack a neurotic interior designer) popping to Paris on their way back to NYC, Delpy and Adam Goldberg pack plenty of relationship sturm and drang into their brief visit. Contrivances abound, with Marion bumping into numerous ex-boyfriends. Fortunately, Delpy’s punchy script is an equal-opportunity offender, dropping frequent laughter bombs, while her DoP Lubomir Bakchev’s roving, handheld camera undercuts the hackneyed setup, roaming street-level Paris like a pickpocket.
The French multi-talent clearly squeezed as much creative juice as she could from her stints on Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, 2 Days owing its structural DNA to Richard Linklater’s two-hander duet. She’s also sponged from early Woody Allen, picking up his feel for screwball timing and character foibles (in this case, those of her own mere and pere as Marion’s bickering olds).
While never straying far from the smart, edgy cookie she’s played throughout her career, Delpy and the scene-snatching Goldberg feel like a living, breathing couple. She’s headstrong, sly, a bit of a bitch; he’s witty, whingey and probably has skidmarks in his undies. Amid all the walking and talking, they entertain, satirise, bond, while scuffling to get to grips with their still-developing love-match. At credits time, you’ll be keen to know how their future pans out. Here’s hoping Delpy steals another page from Linklater’s book, revisiting the Marion-and-Jack story a few years down the line...