THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK — Review by Susan Granger

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On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Only Living Boy in New York” is a shallow, wryly sordid 6. As Brosnan’s character would put it: “It’s serviceable.” Read full review.

“Something’s missing, and we all feel it…” are the words that cryptically introduce this coming-of-age story about a wannabe fiction writer who becomes involved with his father’s mistress.

Lifting its title from the famous Simon & Garfunkel 1970 song, the story revolves around Thomas Webb (Callum Turner), the privileged, twentysomething son of artistic, emotionally fragile Judith (Cynthia Nixon) and arrogant Ethan (Pierce Brosnan), a prominent publisher.

While his erudite parents host frequent dinner parties for Manhattan’s literati at their spacious Upper West Side brownstone, preppyTom prefers to live in a Lower East Side walk-up, pining for artsy Mimi Pastori (Kiersey Clemons), who already has boy-friend whom she’s planning to join in Croatia.

After some coaxing, lovesick Tom confides his heartache to an inquisitive, garrulous neighbor, W.F. Gerald (Jeff Bridges), an alcoholic author who’s more than willing to offer ambiguous philosophical advice, becoming Tom’s coach/therapist while deriding New York’s gentrification.

Whiny Tom’s equilibrium is further challenged when he inadvertently discovers that his father is having an affair with a sexy British editor, Johanna (Kate Beckinsale). Curious, Tom starts stalking mercurial Johanna and soon they’re also squirming between the sheets.

Screenwriter Allan Loeb (“The Space Between Us,” “Collateral Beauty”) and director Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer,” “Gifted”) present a concept that’s distinctly derivative, borrowing liberally from similarly themed films, like “The Graduate,’ “Wonder Boys,” “The Squid and the Whale” – while delivering an implausible third-act twist.

Although the glibly cosmopolitan characters are only superficially developed, pros like Jeff Bridges (who also serves as executive producer), Pierce Brosnan, and Cynthia Nixon bring far more to the screen than is on the written page – with adroit support from Wallace Shawn, Debi Mazar and Tate Donovan.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Only Living Boy in New York” is a shallow, wryly sordid 6. As Brosnan’s character would put it: “It’s serviceable.”

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.