If director-screenwriter Julie Delpy weren't of the Gallic persuasion herself, the French Anti-Defamation League would be filing a lawsuit against her new comedy "2 Days in New York." How much abuse can one nationality take? And what about the audience? Playing up to the Woody Allen comparisons that greeted her earlier film "2 Days in Paris," Delpy uses adoring snapshots of Manhattan, an upbeat score and a confessional narration to evoke a similar Allen-esque sensibility, while bringing her heroine Marion across the Atlantic, and out of Adam Goldberg's bed and into Chris Rock's. All this traveling hasn't been good for anyone.
Marion, a photographer and artist, is no longer living with old boyfriend Jack, but with Mingus (Rock), a radio talk-show jock with a young daughter from a previous relationship; Marion has custody of her and Jack's toddler, and together they all live a relatively urbane existence. That is, until Marion's fractious French family comes to town for a visit. Along with Marion's non-English-speaking father (played by the director's dad, Albert) comes her obnoxious sister, Rose (co-writer Alexia Landeau) and Alexia's skuzzy boyfriend, Manu (Alex Nahon), who also happens to be an ex of Marion's. Seldom have so few done so much to annoy so many.
Much of the alleged humor is based on French-English language gags, or cultural differences or continental mores vs. the priggishness of Americans, but it's all more irritating than funny. Rock -- who here plays a terrific straight man -- does not quite save the day, although his character's habit, during times of stress, of talking to a life-size cutout of President Barack Obama is pretty close to hilarious. Mostly, though, "2 Days in New York" feels like a week, and is based on hackneyed sitcom conventions, albeit racier, more vulgar and with a French accent. C'est la comédie.
PLOT A Manhattan couple, both with kids from former relationships, have their tidy life upended by a French invasion. RATING R (language, sexual content, some drug use, brief nudity)
BOTTOM LINE Liberté, fraternité, insanité.