Coming of age with a big ‘meh’

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - — Gary Goldstein

Al­though “Chron­i­cally Metropoli­tan” at­tempts to be about many things, it winds up be­ing about lit­tle. In the hands of first-time fea­ture di­rec­tor Xavier Man­rique, Ni­cholas Schutt’s puck­ish script largely skims the surface of its too-fa­mil­iar char­ac­ters’ navel-gaz­ing plights, rarely sweep­ing us into their priv­i­leged uni­verse.

A key prob­lem is the cast­ing of Shiloh Fer­nan­dez as Fen­ton Dil­lane, a young writer whose truth-in­spired short story caused such angst for his ex-girl­friend, Jessie (Ash­ley Ben­son), and her fam­ily that he es­caped to San Francisco for a year. The ac­tor’s off­hand man­ner and swoopy-haired, Johnny Depp-like looks feel at odds with his char­ac­ter’s sup­pos­edly soul­ful cre­ativ­ity and neu­rotic un­der­pin­nings. Oddly, the ap­peal­ingly wry Josh Peck, who plays Fen­ton’s drug-deal­ing old pal, John, might have made a more fit­ting lead.

Fen­ton’s sheep­ish re­turn to New York co­in­cides with his phi­lan­der­ing, novelist dad’s (a very good Chris Noth) lurid car ac­ci­dent, Jessie’s up­com­ing nup­tials, his blank­ish mother’s (Mary-Louise Parker) new­found weed habit and his sis­ter’s (Ad­di­son Tim­lin) nascent af­fair with John.

The re­sult is a chron­i­cally “meh” coming-of-age meets dys­func­tional-fam­ily tale, with a par­tic­u­larly un­sat­is­fy­ing end­ing. Bet­ter to watch “The Squid and the Whale” or the re­cent “Land­line,” both of which cover sim­i­lar ter­ri­tory with greater aplomb. “Chron­i­cally Metropoli­tan.” Not rated. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 25 min­utes. Play­ing: Laemmle Mon­ica Film Center, Santa Mon­ica; also on VOD.

Pal­adin

A YOUNG writer (Shiloh Fer­nan­dez) sparks trou­ble with his short story about his ex (Ash­ley Ben­son).

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