Writer-director Jason Michael Brescia's "Bridge and Tunnel" follows a group of Long Island twentysomethings over the course of one rocky year. It tries to be a kind of "St. Elmo's Fire" for "the change-at-Jamaica crowd," as the railroad-riding locals are dubbed here. But this wan ensemble drama is one train that barely leaves the station.
In addition to flat visuals, logy pacing and lots of first-draft dialogue, "Bridge" plays host to such an uninspired — and uninspiring — circle of friends and lovers it's hard to invest in their mundane journeys. Spotty performances from the low-wattage cast (Ryan Metcalf, Chris Viemeister, Natalie Knepp, Brianne Berkson and others) further keep us at arm's length.
The film unfolds in time-stamped chapters, connected by rudimentarily animated and narrated bits. Although the movie is set in 2012, it nominally lives in the shadow of 9/11, at which point the main characters were in high school. But instead of adding heft, that only highlights the depth and dimension missing from Brescia's script.
Professional, marital, romantic and filial issues abound, yet the crisscrossing events have such a been-there-seen-that quality that they play like discards from "The Brothers McMullen," "The Groomsmen" or another one of Edward Burns' far superior little New York dramedies.
Unlike the Burns' oeuvre, "Bridge" offers little sense of place, even though Long Island — specifically Nassau County's south shore — seems to loom large in the characters' collective consciousness. The problem: Save a few waterside scenes, Brescia over-relies on undistinguished interiors. Even the key railroad platform moments, like so much else here, feel hemmed in.
"Bridge and Tunnel"
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes.