An indie spin on Meet the Parents, this annoying comedy about an excessively neurotic American (Adam Goldberg) who spends two days in guess-where with his French girlfriend (Delpy, who wrote, directed, produced, edited, and even scored the picture) feels honest, but wears thin quickly.
Dealing with the in-laws (played by Delpy's real-life parents, French acting veterans Marie Pillet and Albert Delpy), culture clash issues and language barriers, Goldberg's Jack is, for all his tattoos and New York cynicism, unbelievably narrow-minded, ignorant, and humorless. Admittedly, his sojourn in Paris comes after a disastrous trip to Venice where he was stricken with diarrhea, and his strolls around the City of Light with Delpy's Marion are filled with awkward encounters with an endless array of Marion's sleazy ex-lovers, so one could see why he might be cranky. But Jack is a selfish loser and a terrible boyfriend, so cry me a river.
Not that Marion is any prize either: prone to lying, flakiness, and her own neurotic flipouts, Marion's so screwed up that you might accept that a mess like Jack is her only option. But this couple has apparently been together for two years already, and although this European trip is putting their relationship to the final test, it's hard to see how it lasted as long as it did. Aside from a funny moment at the beginning of the film where Jack willfully gives the wrong directions to a team of fat American tourists (much to Marion's delight) and some strained redemption at the end, you never sense any love between these two, and for me that's what keeps the film from working. And Goldberg – who I usually like – is unbearably uptight here.
On the upside, Delpy's parents are hilarious, and it's nice to see the real, non-tourist Paris as a backdrop. Still, comparisons with Delpy's famed "French girl and American guy" diptych, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, are inevitable, and 2 Days in Paris completely lacks the romance, chemistry, and bittersweet charm of either of those films.