Julie Delpy has been trying to direct for 20 years. She's been a successful actress and an Oscar nominated screenwriter (Before Sunset), but it took 20 years for her to realize her directing vision, and it was not easy as she recounted is a recent story about women directors that she literally "tricked her financiers into thinking she was making a romantic comedy about a French woman (herself) and an American man (Adam Goldberg)."
In the broadest sense, 2 Days in Paris is a romantic comedy heavy on the comedy and light on the romance, and that was a smart idea. Delpy being the indie actress she is, was not interested in making a typical Hollywood romantic comedy. Here she not only directs but also wrote the script, edited the film and composed the music. The good news is that the film is a resounding success, so funny at times that I laughed out loud. Delpy and Goldberg play lovers who on the way back from a not so great week in Venice, and make a 2-day pit stop in Paris to see her family and pick up her cat. Family is the operative word here because Delpy employs both her mother and her father as her character's parents who are just a little off and hysterically funny.
Delpy's humor is so smart. Her character is a photographer with a vision problem. When she misplaces her contacts she spends part of the film wearing huge glasses that take up her entire face forcing us to look beyond her beauty to actually see her. She deliberately tries to keep her characters, and us, off-balance. Marion and Jack are a couple in trouble. Marion is kind of flighty and Jack is very uncomfortable in his skin and in Europe, and descends quickly into a pathetic typical American tourist taking way too many pictures and wanting everything to be exactly as it is at home. In a hilarious moment when Jack and Marion are trying to get back on track they attempt to have sex and when he can't get the condom on he yells "Is this a kid's size condom? Do they make condoms for kids?" The film illuminates the crux of their problems -- she's not good at commitment and he's extremely jealous. Throughout the trip they run into her ex-boyfriends and Jack becomes more and more untethered until they both explode.
After years of working as an actress, Delpy has made a seamless transition to the directing chair. As a director, she is interested in making action movies and thrillers and now hopefully that she has proved herself as adept, she won't have to be forced to lie to get financial backing for her films. Sadly, her story is probably more common than we would think. I wonder how many male directors had to jump through the same type of hoops that Delpy did?