After the debacle that was the Amazing Spider-Man franchise, it was reassuring to see Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) get back on the saddle with Gifted, starring Chris Evans (Snowpiercer) and an adorable Grace McKenna (Designated Survivor). Unfortunately, his next film The Only Living Boy in New York, about a young college graduate (Callum Turner, War & Peace) adrift in New York City, whose life is upended by his father’s mistress (Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship), feels like it’s two steps back and thirty years out of date.
I rolled my eyes so hard watching the trailer that they nearly popped out of my skull. From the pretentious title taken from Simon & Garfunkel to the hipster fonts to the mildly misogynistic new neighbor, the film feels like a vintage Woody Allen or Mike Nichols film, and not in a good way. In this day and age where people should know better about/are more aware of gender politics, my threshold for twee man-baby pseudo-intellectual hipster protagonists is at an all-time low.
Turner’s character comes off as a bespectacled New York City “Nice Guy” mansplainer, and the trailer doesn’t do him any favors, painting him as that guy who is in a snit because his best girl friend isn’t interested in a romantic relationship, and who wants to bang his daddy’s mistress. However, Turner manages to exude a quiet, genuine charm despite his awful character and subpar material. I can definitely understand why David Yates snapped him up for Fantastic Beasts (he’s playing Newt’s sure-to-be annoying older brother, Theseus). The rest of the cast, consisting of Pierce Brosnan (The Ghost Writer), Cynthia Nixon (James White), Jeff Bridges (True Grit) and Kiersey Clemons (Dope), are also promising.
I would love to be proven wrong and would gladly eat my hat if The Only Living Boy in New York turns out to be a decent film, but my sixth sense is telling my otherwise. The Only Living Boy in New York will be released by Roadside Attractions and Amazon Prime on August 11, 2017.