Why Romantic Comedy “Dating in New York” Is So Unromantic – The Forward
“Dating And New York,” the simplest title film to hit theaters this fall, is slated to run over several months. But you wouldn’t be able to tell, as nearly all of the scenes in this romantic comedy take place during peak leaf viewing season.
It’s fall when Milo (Jaboukie Young-White) and Wendy (Francesca Reale) meet on a dating app called “Meet Cute”. It’s fall when, after a make-up session on the sidewalk among piles of garbage (by far the most realistic detail in the film), the two embark on a literally contractual “Best Friends With Benefits” arrangement, which allows them both to enjoy “cohesive sex” without going through “hell” of having obligations to each other. It’s fall when Milo “catches feelings” and confesses them to an unemotional Wendy, and it’s fall / winter when Wendy decides she’s done with the balayage and ready for the. happiness as a couple after all.
If you’re considering an hour and thirty-two minute tribute to the slightly more subtle fall vibe of “You’ve Got Mail,” you’re right; in more than one way than weather, director Jonah Feingold’s first feature film is positioned as Nora Ephron’s heir to New York.
If a tête-à-tête does happen, it certainly takes place outside of the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, much like the infamous brunch cabal in “When Harry Met Sally” that shaped my mistaken notions (and probably those of all the other millennia) of adult youth in New York. . The soundtrack oscillates between a soft jazz and a little suspenseful. Everyone lives in a doorman building and no one wears the same coat twice. None of the women pass the Bechdel test – but it’s hard to accuse the film of sexism when each character talks exclusively about the mechanics of online dating.
Ephron excelled in odes to a New York City that never really existed, and “Dating and New York” is most charming when it gives us a taste of his 21st century aesthetic. But while the fantastic city of Ephron is populated with people who at least seem potentially real, the characters in this film are more like robots programmed to toss buzzwords about millennial dating.
Social media is a constant theme throughout the high-tech story, with feeds and direct messages awkwardly floating across the screen as characters engage in protracted debates about the label online – the best way. imagine a bad date, for example, or meet an ex who won’t stop looking at your Instagram stories. The ubiquitous “finance guys” that haunt the online dating scene come to life in the form of a very boring technical brother played by Alex Moffat of “Saturday Night Live”. (To his credit, he’s also the only character we’ve ever seen working for a living.)
Though they despair of landing in a conventionally monogamous relationship, they gleefully participate in the more transactional aspect of online dating, as hungry for ghosts as they are momentarily stung at being ghosts. Although Feingold, who wrote the film in addition to directing it, is a millennial himself, the screenplay feels like it was written by someone who came of age during Ephron’s time. and only met the millennials through angry reflections on their avocado-toast-buying habits, destruction of the diamond industry, and avoidance of home ownership.
While the fun “Dating and New York” brunches are unlike any real dates I’ve ever seen, the movie reminded me of the stories we millennials often tell about modern dating – stories of bravado and callousness, jokes about the real connections and petty cruelties that dating apps offer in equal measure. Stories to cover up the fact that romantically bonding with another human being is a truly scary experience no matter how we play it.
I’m not spoiling anything to tell you that Milo and Wendy get their happiness forever. But these stories, told without any allusion to the messier truths behind them, make the viewing surprisingly grim.