You know it's 2012 when Chris Rock and Julie Delpy star in a romantic comedy. 2 Days in New York is not only the funniest but the most contemporary and authentic romantic comedy to come out in years. It's not mumbly and twee like so many twenty-something indie relationship pics, nor is it computer-generated, in-flight crap like Kate Hudson's body of work.
2 Days in New York, co-written and directed by Ms. Delpy, is her follow up to her equally hilarious and moving 2 Days in Paris (which are homages to her character in Richard Linklater's now iconic Before Sunrise and Before Sunset). Like the Paris film, 2 Days takes place over just two days and stars members of her own family. Her real father who plays her on-screen dad is wonderfully out of his mind.
The core of the film however is the relationship between Chris Rock and Julie Delpy and it is here that the film is most fresh. Their comic timing and chemistry is wonderful to watch. Mr. Rock is real and vulnerable when he needs to be but Ms. Delpy is smart enough to give him room to cut loose.
In fact, Mr. Rock's performance is a revelation. Building on his brilliant turn on Broadway in "Motherfucker with a Hat," the funniest man on the planet is growing into one of Hollywood's most appealing and versatile leading men. His "talks" with the
cardboard cut-out of Obama that he keeps in his den are worth the price of admission alone.
Together they are one of those couples we know but rarely see on screen. Their pasts are messy and unresolved. Their blended family isn't always so blended.
Neither does Ms. Delpy run away from issues of race and culture, stereotypes and misconceptions. That would be comedic suicide. Instead she spears them, head on, fearlessly. Her French dad rarely bathes, her French ex-boyfriend can't believe that Mingus, Chris Rock's character, doesn't smoke weed. Her French sister's nip slip in yoga class is howlingly funny.
2 Day in New York is in limited theatrical release for now so if it's not playing near you you can also catch it immediately on iTunes, Amazon, cable VOD, etc.
Follow Trey Ellis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TreyEllis