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film review

Callum Turner and Jeff Bridges in The Only Living Boy In New York.Niko Tavernise

Thomas Webb, a handsome would-be writer and recent college graduate, talks often about how New York has changed – it lacks the soul, vitality and magnetism it once possessed. Unfortunately, for a film trying hard to live up to the best of early Woody Allen and The Graduate, the same can be said for The Only Living Boy In New York. Director Marc Webb proved he could do youthful love and heartbreak as well as anyone in his debut feature (500) Days of Summer. Here, working with a script by Allan Loeb (The Space Between Us, Collateral Beauty), he puts all the pieces together, but can't make the magic happen. Thomas catches his father, an emotionally distant publisher played by Pierce Brosnan, having an affair with the gorgeous and mysterious Johanna (Kate Beckinsale), leaving poor Thomas's mom (Cynthia Nixon) alone in her depression. Eventually, Thomas falls for Johanna and is helped along by his neighbour, a writer and sage named W.F. (played by the always reliable Jeff Bridges, who gives the film's best performance). Like love itself, the movie wants so much to be magical. But like the Paul Simon song it pulls its title from, you've heard it too many times before and the ardour just isn't there. (R) Dave McGinn