Calling back many of the same characters and more than a few of the same jokes, 2 Days in New York, Julie Delpy's fourth film as writer-director, is a sequel to her 2007 2 Days in Paris. In New York, Delpy's alter ego, Marion, returns as a mother, fortyish, and cohabiting in Manhattan with Mingus (Chris Rock), who's not the father of her kid. Mingus has his own radio call-in show, while Marion is preparing for a gallery exhibition of her photographs—double portraits of couples in bed—co-starring herself. The defining theme is "relationships fading over time," underlining the precarious state of her domestic situation, while foreboding is ramped up into crisis as Marion's family—ex-hippie father, sluttish sister, and her scuzzy boyfriend—arrive from France for a visit. Delpy's project of stripping the makeup from her charismatic screen persona extends, unfortunately, to a general slovenliness of technique. The director's guiding principle seems to be that people, especially her heroine, are imperfect, and that life is messy. But unflatteringly inverting the ideal—feminine or otherwise—is a shabby method for seeking higher truth, and if life is a jumble, that doesn't mean art necessarily should be. New York's slapdash construction can't elevate the personal to the universal, can't turn solipsism into communion.