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Check This Out: "2 Days In New York"

Filmmaker Christopher Wood reviews movies from the Tacoma Public Library

Julie Delpy and Chris Rock, adrift in a relationship. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

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Some days you just don't feel like paying for another Redbox rental, and the next movie on your Netflix queue takes FOREVER to arrive in your mailbox. And recession or no, who can pass up free, convenient entertainment? Every Tuesday, "Check This Out" recommends movies available at any of the eight branches of your friendly Tacoma Public Library. So you can satisfy your next film fix at the place with the books.

Meet Marion and Mingus, an unorthodox couple by mainstream movie standards, but who nonetheless fit quite snugly in the 2012 indie comedy 2 Days In New York. Not only do both work as quasi-hip artists in the big city - she snaps photos, he writes for The Village Voice - but their racial differences might still shock those in middle America still reeling from Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.

Even the casting choices for M & M aren't what you'd expect. 2 Days's French screenwriter and director Julie Delpy takes for herself the role of Marion, and chooses as her beau Chris Rock, who you just know will grab a mic from offscreen and unleash a witty rant at any moment. Surprisingly, the closest opportunity comes in the form of casual convos with a full-size cutout of Barack Obama in their apartment. How he's grown up since Grown Ups.

For the most part, Mingus remains the calm, mature center at the familial maelstrom unleashed on his and Marion's lives. Her father, sister Rose and tag-along boyfriend Manu have flown in from France to celebrate the unveiling of her new exhibit, so let the cultural stereotype parade commence:

  • Those French sure love their sausage and cheese - Dad smuggled 18 pounds of it on the plane ride.
  • Did you know all African-Americans can't get enough Salt N' Pepa?
  • And don't forget to thank every Indian you meet for making the Harold and Kumar movies SO funny.

Fortunately Delpy's script exhausts itself of the easy jokes early on, and pulls off a few inspired comedic moments. Marion's teensy lie about her terminal brain tumor inadvertently leads to a neighbor's lusting after Rose. Fello indie filmmaker Vincent Gallo (Buffalo 66) also plays his skeletony self in an amusing cameo.

Another movie about surviving your girlfriend's relatives means low stakes for everyone involved; so you end up disliking them, so what? But 2 Days, capturing The Big Apple's crisp reds and oranges in the fall, is in too sunny of a mood for that. The film moves briskly along to its foregone happy ending, and all in about 90 minutes. So rent it, or spend an afternoon with the in-laws - whichever promises the biggest laughs.

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Judging By the Trailer

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