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Jealous Laughter

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Julie Delpy evidently never had my writing professor, who would have scolded her for creating a story about her boyfriend. No telling how far his eyes would have rolled back in his head had he found out she produced it into a movie about the two visiting her parents, for which she cast her real parents (Marie Pillet and Albert Delpy). Delpy has no doubt taken some heat for this enthusiastically self-centered writer-director project, "2 Days in Paris," in which she also wrote and performed the songs. I didn't stick around long enough for the credits to see if the cat, Jean-Luc, is played by Delpy's own pet, but I wouldn't doubt it. The movie is self-indulgent, to be sure, but by either chance or intent, it ends up being very true to life.

Delpy, best known for "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset," is Marion, all too easy to relate to because she takes herself way too seriously. We get numerous fast-paced cinematic treatises on every bug and blade of grass that has affected her current relationship with Jack (Adam Goldberg), her American boyfriend. The two are visiting Marion's native Paris and staying at the lively abode of her ex-sexpot mom and irascible father, who keys cars whenever he feels they've parked too close to the curb for his liking. "2 Days" is "Meet the Parents" meets "Annie Hall," with any and all comic ephemera peeled away to the skin like the rabbit Papa uses to fluster Jack. When the jokes fall, they drop like bitter cigarette butts into the Seine or just float away half noticed.

Despite Delpy's prominence in the production, the story focuses at least equally on Jack, who must withstand every ex-boyfriend, taxi driver and random crazy man caressing Marion with his eyes. Music is employed humorously to accentuate the scenes where Jack thinks he's spying on some act unbecoming a fiancé.

This is old-fashioned filmmaking and bare-bones boyfriend-girlfriend stuff, fleshed out with astute observations on real human behavior, mostly conniving and craven. You too may roll your eyes when confronted with another unabashed riff on true love, but with "2 Days" the feeling that you are about to be bored to death by someone's love life always evaporates at the last minute into laughter. (R) 94 min. S



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