Film review: The Only Living Boy in New York – coming-of-age tale is male fantasy at its most boring
The talents of Pierce Brosnan, Kate Beckinsale and Jeff Bridges fail to lift Marc Webb’s indie film about the trials and tribulations of the wealthy, which doesn’t connect on any level with its clumsy script. Even the sex scenes are dull
Contemporary US indie films are generally introspective affairs, but few spend as much time gazing at their own navels as The Only Living Boy In New York. This lifeless New York story directed by Marc Webb (Gifted) irritates with its focus on how sad and difficult it is to be wealthy, and suffers from a clumsy and unconvincing script.
Callum Turner plays Thomas, a poor little rich kid who’s struggling with his life in New York, despite offers of help from his wealthy father Ethan (Pierce Brosnan). Rejecting Ethan’s help, Thomas turns to his grizzled neighbour W.F. (Jeff Bridges) for advice.
When Thomas discovers his father is having an affair with the provocative book editor Johanna (Kate Beckinsale), he stalks her. After a confrontation in an art gallery, passions rise and Thomas begins an affair with Johanna himself.
The film’s main draw should be Bridges in a role that’s clearly geared to reflect his portrayal of a dissolute sage in the cult Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski. But the actor is wasted in this mundane urban tale, and is reduced to portraying a stereotypical cigar-toting old man who has a thing or two to tell the young ones.
The rest of a good cast, including Brosnan as the unfaithful book publisher and Beckinsale as his mistress, struggle to express themselves with the sub-par lines they’ve been given. Even the sex scenes are a bore.
The Only Living Boy is an odd story in that it’s about the very society that it claims to reject. While the characters tirelessly complain about the gentrification of New York, the film’s sole focus is the activities of the gentrified class.
The Only Living Boy in New York opens on August 31
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