Julie Delpy’s debut as a writer-director, 2 Days in Paris, was a caustic riposte to her best-known role as one-half of the brief-encounters couple in Before Sunset and Before Sunrise. Her own film — tracing a misguided attempt to save her character Marion’s relationship with boyfriend Adam Goldberg — combined Woody Allen neuroses, broad French farce and an unrelenting unpleasantness.
All three of those qualities are amplified in Delpy’s sequel, which reverses the formula by bringing her family to New York, where she now lives with her new boyfriend, a talk-radio host played by Chris Rock. In these new environs, Delpy’s debt to Allen’s comedy of complaint and intellectual name-dropping is even more evident, though the dialogue doesn’t roll off her characters’ tongues with the ease of his satiric cadences. Her characters are too broad for that: Marion’s father, played by Delpy’s actual father Albert Delpy, is an earthy, dirty old man, while her sister Rose (Alexia Landeau) is jealous and conniving. Rose brings along her boyfriend (Alex Nahon), who’s comically inappropriate in his efforts to fit in.
Much of the attempted humor stems from the family’s failure not only to speak English, but to understand basic human interaction, overshooting comedy into the realm of unlikability. Rock stares with bug-eyed horror and standup one-liners, while Delpy is simply frazzled. A subplot about her attempt to sell her soul as part of an art opening results in an amusing cameo, but the conceit was handled better in a 20-year-old Simpsons episode.