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Delpy's "2 Days in New York" builds a language barrier too high for true laughs

Published January 24, 2012 12:00 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

"2 Days in New York"Premieres**1/2 (two and a-half stars) The endless cascade of awkward moments when a fresh-minted couple introduces one partner to the in-laws gets big, big play in Julie Delpy's "2 Days in New York."

A book-end of sorts to her 2007 film "2 Days in Paris," in which Delpy's boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) wrestled with cultural differences and Delpy's past loves during a holiday, this film, as you've no doubt guessed, changes shores for an American take.

What it doesn't exactly do, however, is turn the situational tables. It's still Delply's partner Mingus (Chris Rock) who must contend with "zose vacky French," when Delpy's father (played by a robust and ribald real-life papa Albert Delpy) , sister and her boyfriend camp out in their New York City loft.

A consistent crutch throughout is Delpy's use of the language barrier to produce laughs that seem obvious at best, and often forced at worst. There's only so many times simple misunderstandings can make us laugh. Except for a charming ending where Delpy at last finds her thematic feet, this movie exhausts all those "lost in translation" guffaws. In fact, its best gag lands in an elevator scene when Delpy's sister (a wonderful Alexia Landeau) and her boyfriend (Alex Nahon) discover that an erstwhile clueless American understands exactly what they're saying.

Rock never fails as the brash, one-man show of his stand-up routines he's best known for, but don't expect that here. He's still capable of making Delpy's better moments work, but there's an underlying sense that his best talents were left outdoors to dry.

Not a bad effort, and certainly one with wonderful moments toward the end, but for hardcore Delpy fans only. —Ben Fulton"2 Days in New York" screens again: • Wednesday, Jan. 25, 6:30 p.m., Peery's Egyptian Theater, Ogden• Saturday, Jan. 28, 12:15p.m.., Eccles Theatre, Park City• Saturday, Jan. 28, 9 a.m., Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City