The Only Living Boy in New York
Credit: Niko Tavernise

The Only Living Boy in New York

In The Only Living Boy in New York, lead actor Callum Turner looks so much like an American Gigolo-era Richard Gere that, once you’ve clicked into the resemblance, it’s all you can see. Even down to the enigmatic-smile-and-look-away technique in Gere’s acting, pointed out memorably once by Steve Coogan in The Trip. Like Gere, Turner (Green Room) might very well mature into a more interesting onscreen presence. But unfortunately, there’s no way to know that from this twee, turgid drama set in an uptown fantasyland version of Manhattan.

Turner plays Thomas, the privileged and brooding adult son of Ethan (Pierce Brosnan) and Judith (Cynthia Nixon), who passes his days by browsing through rare book shops and pining for a sweet lady friend (Kiersey Clemons). While in a club one night, Thomas spots his dad on a romantic outing with a beautiful woman (Kate Beckinsale) and unloads all of his concerns on a vagabond neighbor (Jeff Bridges).

Naturally, there’s a lot of staring out of windows, folk music, precious literary references, inane chatter about New York having lost its soul, and Thomas walking in the rain without an umbrella. The script by Collateral Beauty writer Allan Loeb siphons from the worst of Woody Allen — what male under 35 in America uses the phrase “making love”? — while also involving the characters in so many dumbfounding plot coincidences that the story takes on the aura of parody. But that would require a degree of brio, which is sadly lacking in the derivative effort by (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb.

The one cast member who at least puts a bit of bounce in the film’s step is Bridges, imbuing his supporting role with a combination of lightness and gravitas. Despite the silly and sentimental nature of his dialogue, Bridges, in this wondrous emeritus phase of his career, sells every single line. Well, almost every. At one point in the film, his character says to Thomas, “And you said your life was boring?” It is, Dude. It is. C–

The Only Living Boy in New York
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