The jittery Vacancy/Pulp Fiction guy helms a film
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 04/05/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Freddie Prinze Jr goes for another NYC light drama/light comedy piece, his second in as many years, and once again it fell quite flat. I cannot short him in one instance towards the end when he lets loose into a tirade that probably showcases his talent better than those films combined; a rare little gem for him. Otherwise the writing tanked this from the get-go.
We have a story surrounding four friends plugging their way through bachelorhood in the city. Through the coarse of two trips we suffer their "bonding" time, one involving all four to a friend's funeral, and another with just Klein's and Prinze's characters showcasing at a film festival. The writing was so inconsistent that the film could not decide what it wanted to be. We get 20 minutes of character intro about how this group will go to underage parties for sex, steal random stuff, cheat on a fiance, and so on - but when one of the guys tries to take valuables offered to him, his buddies get upset..? The first real laugh was apparently the fart in the car joke 29 minutes into it, or maybe it was Klein playing the perpetual drunk that ignores his young daughter. There were some significant errors towards the end of the film also, but I think one can get the point. In the end, it appeared to be about man friends finding they are better people apart than together. Jamie Lynn Sigler had the victim role, and her parts were too brief for this to be a reference for her.
There are several extras on the disc to help show some production material and background. But the tell tale sign for me is when there are over 20 copies (now 70) for sale here dirt cheap in two weeks."
Boys Being Boys--The Sweetest "Bromance"
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 11/18/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Frank Whaley's "New York City Serenade" is a modest film that is somewhat successful at achieving its limited goals. At its core, the film is an ultimate "bromance" between two life long friends played by Freddie Prinze Jr and Chris Klein. As an aspiring filmmaker, Prinze is the more stable of the two--having a devoted girlfriend (Jamie Lynn Sigler in an underdeveloped role) and a burgeoning career. He's just been invited to a film festival to showcase his 6 minute film, which appears to be dreadful, but we've all got to start somewhere! Klein, on the other hand, is a musician who lives for drink and ladies. He seems to have alienated himself from his wife and distanced himself from his daughter (in an underdeveloped side story).
In a film such as this, you have to ask yourself if the characters are really people you'd like to invest 100 minutes of your life to follow. I'm not sure my answer was "yes" for "New York City Serenade." Prinze, with little provocation or reason, immediately cheats on his girlfriend which leads to both a break-up and a nifty excuse to cart Klein off for the festival road trip. He spends endless minutes of the film trying to apologize, but its hard to root for any sort of reconciliation as there has been no real justification in the affair and no real time developing their relationship in the first place. Klein, as an amped up man-child, cons and lies and steals endlessly (it may supposed to be charming and/or amusing--but it ends up being pretty tedious). The two party together and ultimately confront the issue that they have different priorities. It's time to stop being children and start being men! Major revelation, huh?
As in all good romances (I mean "bromances"), after the leads have squabbled--they have to come to terms with their changing relationship. It is in these final scenes that I think "New York City Serenade" finally earned some emotional validity. Prinze and Klein are quite good in an understated scene that wraps the film up with genuine conviction. I enjoyed the resolution much more than I enjoyed the journey, so I'm giving the film a mild recommendation. With limited expectations, there is a fairly honest pay-off. 2 1/2 stars--but I'll round up for the conclusion. KGHarris 11/09."