“2 DAYS IN PARIS”
Contrary to what you may have heard, “2 Days in Paris” is not Julie Delpy’s vanity piece. It’s also not a dead-horse third installment of director Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise”/“Sunset” films. Admittedly, Delpy is the writer-director-producer-star of the movie, and yes, certain Seine-lined scenes blur costar Adam Goldberg with “Before Sunrise’s” Ethan Hawke. But “2 Days in Paris” sets itself apart from all preconceived notions by emerging as a caustic and refreshing romantic comedy.
Lively and offbeat, the film follows Marion (Delpy) and Jack (Goldberg) on a two day detour in Paris where culture clash, former lovers and neuroses test the durability of their relationship. If nothing else, the movie’s individual scenes run like a best-of collection of your favorite improv comedy troupe (check out the scene involving Marion, her mother, and an overweight cat). Although the film can’t totally avoid tripping over its inherent clichés and romantic indulgences, “2 Days in Paris” is worth the sincerity of its warmth and wit.
“DEATH AT A FUNERAL”
“Who is this?”
“This is not my father.”
In a comedy that opens with a funeral home delivering the wrong body, little can be left sacred or taboo.
Matthew MacFayden, of broodingly handsome Mr. Darcy fame, plays the overly-anxious and slightly doughy Daniel, who must overcome sibling rivalry, dark secrets, and incontinent relatives in order to host an honorable wake for his late father.
Directed by Frank Oz (“In & Out,” “Bowfinger”), this British star-crammed film incorporates the comedic kitchen sink (midgets, hypochondriacs, LSD). But what “Funeral” pulls off better than most comedies is its ability to blend belly-laugh-inducing scenarios with the snowballing twists of its plot. The most absurd jokes emerge organically, avoiding the pitfall of seeming tagged-on or gratuitous that even today’s cleverest comedies can’t seem to sidestep (sorry, Judd Apatow).
With unforgettable performances—Alan Tudyk plays a WASP who ends up high out of his mind and naked on the roof of the deceased’s house—and Dean Craig’s seamless script, “Funeral” delivers a brand of absurdity you want to believe in. Stretching the bounds of taste without ever crossing them, this Brit art house instant-classic makes “Superbad” as sobering as “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.”