Julie Delpy takes on her near iconic role as Celine in Linklater’s "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" in "2 Days in Paris," which she wrote, directed and stars in. Takes on, or perhaps shreds to bits in playing Marion, the temperamental French half of a New York couple at the tail end of a rough European vacation â€” Adam Goldberg plays Jack, her neurotic boyfriend. "You won’t get a sense, right away, of how borderline-crazy ‘2 Days in Paris’ is going to get from its first few minutes. Which are frankly pretty irritating," writes Andrew O’Hehir at Salon. The crazy half is what works for him, and he enjoys the way that "Jack is a painfully ignorant and arrogant American, who doesn’t speak a
single word of French, but then the natives turn out to be just as
weird and sex-crazed as advertised." Anthony Lane at the New Yorker is less benign in his questioning of the film’s sanity, observing that "this is not a vanity project. It is an insanity project," and pointing out "There is an extra rawness here, a determination to confront and annoy."
David Edelstein at New York is not alone in comparing Marion to Diane Keaton in "Annie Hall"; he would have preferred that Goldberg "kept more in reserve; heâ€™s so easy to read that you get everything youâ€™re going to in the first five minutes," but admits to being surprised in a few scenes by Delpy. (Similar thoughts from Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly, who wished Goldberg "took a few more breaks from acting like a smug hypochondriacal jerk.") Dana Stevens at Slate is also surprised; going in with dire expectations, she writes that the fact that the film is "occasionally insightful and hilarious is a treat," though she points out a general lack of structure.
Stephen Holden at the New York Times finds that "Ms. Delpyâ€™s examination of modern love among the almost young and still restless is bracingly hard-headed," though he cautions that "Audacious as it is, the movie is also a little scary." Tasha Robinson at the Onion AV Club similarly admires the way the actors’ exchanges are "fit to keep viewers squirming with alternate waves of sympathy and disgust," while Nick Schager at Slant muses that the "battle-of-the-sexes’ fixation on castration…turns 2 Days in Paris into something of a male nightmare, and makes one wonder if Delpy isn’t unconsciously working through some residual, latent anger at Before Sunset co-star Ethan Hawke." And Jim Ridley at the Village Voice sums the film up as "an alternate universe to Sunrise/Sunset’s poignant roundelay. Where Linklater elided the relationship, writer-director-star Delpy skips the prelude."