It’s unfortunate to say that my favorite part of this movie was its title: A NY Thing. It had such promise too! The premise is that Antoine (Jonathan Zaccaï) is madly in love with Alice (Fanny Valette). He spontaneously jumps on a plane from France to New York to try to keep them together. When he arrives, she is back together with her boyfriend Arthur (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). She lies to all of her friends and says that Antoine is really “John” a stranger she met on the plane. Arthur takes in “John” and hopes that “John” is able to find that love he crossed an ocean for.
A NY Thing has a lot of improvised dialog that rarely leads to anything interesting or memorable. It’s usually just rambles about John Lennon and love. There was one fun scene when “John” met a crazy person at Arthur’s job who started listing off every famous director and actor with the name John.
The biggest problem is that Antoine/John is not a very interesting observer. His quest is not validated because the movie never lets us care about Alice. I was ready for him to move on from the very beginning because she was so indecisive and manipulative. I still don’t know what he sees in her.
Alice was more realized, though, than her best friend Tamera played by mumblecore starlette Greta Gerwig (Baghead, Greenberg). She was way too broad with her comedic choices as she desperately was interested in “John.”
The final act of this film seemed really unbelievable. The movie becomes contrived in the most boring way possible. Instead of going all out with New York madness (a la After Hours), its contrivances are more about having characters react in irrational ways in order to complete the plot.
My major problem with some of these films lately is that they remind me too often of other films and by doing that I have no choice but compare them. So I wish this film was as witty as Linklater’s Before Sunrise or Slacker and as scenic as Manhattan or Who’s That Knocking At M Door. Instead it’s just a forgettable film experiment. Alas.
A NY Thing will be playing on Sunday July 18th at 5:15PM and on Wednesday July 21st at 4:45PM. Tickets can be purchased online here.