A meet the parents with an international flavor

Posted: August 24, 2007

Julie Delpy possesses the creamy beauty of Catherine Deneuve, the slapstick gifts of Diane Keaton and is so ambidextrous that not only does she star in 2 Days in Paris, but also wrote, directed, edited - and composed its score.

Delpy's manic energy shoots through this meet-the-parents comedy like electroshock, resulting in a movie that is as acutely painful as it is acutely funny.

Known to art-house audiences as the Parisienne who beguiles Ethan Hawke in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, Delpy here plays Marion, a cosmopolitan photographer who keeps apartments in New York and Paris.

Marion also keeps company with Jack (Adam Goldberg), an American interior decorator. En route from Venice back to the States, they stop in Paris for 48 hours to visit Marion's pied-a-terre, upstairs from her parents' flat.

Jack has never before seen Marion in her natural habitat. He is startled by the different colors and plumage she exhibits. And by her bawdy parents (Delpy's real-life mom and dad, Albert Delpy and Marie Pillet, who resemble the shaggy figures of Ed Koren cartoons).

A hypochondriac, narcissist and non-French speaker, Jack assumes everyone is talking about him, especially when he and Marion run into one of her ex-beaus, as numerous as cafes.

Delpy sets the stage for a culture clash, Marion's French free-spiritedness at odds with Jack's American possessiveness. The war that ensues is not Frenchwoman versus American man, but something more complex, as the partners default to and destroy cultural stereotypes.

2 Days in Paris **1/2 (out of four stars)

Written and directed by Julie Delpy. With Delpy and Adam Goldberg. Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Running time: 1 hour, 36 mins.

Parent's guide: R (nudity, sexual candor)

Playing at: Ritz at the Bourse and Showcase at the Ritz Center/NJ.

Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey at 215-854-5402 or crickey@phillynews.co,. Read her blog, "Flickgrrl," at http://go.philly.com/flickgrrl/

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