2 Days in Paris
is a romantic comedy of manners that is funnier and more perceptive than you might initially expect it to be. That's because in addition to it marking the actress Delpy's feature-filmmaking debut, Delpy also co-stars in the film as well as being credited as the film's producer, scriptwriter, editor, and music composer/performer. All those tasks would be a lot for a seasoned auteur to pull off successfully, so the ambition seems a mite reckless for a first-timer – even one who has been nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Before Sunset
with co-authors Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke. Clearly, the French actress best known in these parts for her performances in Linklater's Before Sunrise
, Before Sunset
, and Waking Life
, has been paying attention while on the sets of the several dozen other films in her filmography. Though Linklater's narrative influence is apparent in 2 Days in Paris
, Delpy brings a more humorous and caustic sensibility to her time-encapsulated vision of a romantic holiday. Here, instead of the near-magical lovers' rapport experienced by Linklater's characters, Delpy's lovers grow out of sorts with each other when plucked from their shared turf in Manhattan. Marion (Delpy) and Jack (Goldberg), a couple of two years' duration, stop in Paris to visit her parents for two days while on their way home from a trip to the romantic city of Venice. Yet Jack clearly dislikes going outside his comfort zone, and seeing Marion in her home town – where she keeps an apartment upstairs from her parents (who are played by Delpy's real parents, Marie Pillet and Albert Delpy) and old lovers lurk around every corner – causes Jack to see his girlfriend in a different light. It's not simple jealousy that erupts but something more subtle: Evidence of details Jack thought exclusive to their relationship turn up with these ghosts from Marion's past, and signs of her unhinged temper flare uncontrollably when encountering a hateful ex or a racist cabdriver. Jack, a curmudgeonly worrywart, is no prince either but, as played by Goldberg (who is becoming one of the finest comic actors of his generation), is a hoot to watch as the boundaries of his comfort zone are constantly assaulted. The film's third act goes off course a bit, but, overall, Delpy the filmmaker shows a lovely sense of comic timing and visual play. 2 Days in Paris
provides a smart and funny respite from most of what passes for romantic comedy these days.