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'Chronically Metropolitan' is consistently 'meh'

'Chronically Metropolitan' is consistently 'meh'
Chris Noth as Christopher, Addison Timlin as Layla, Shiloh Fernandez as Fenton and Mary-Louise Parker as Annabel in the film "Chronically Metropolitan." (Paladin)

Although "Chronically Metropolitan" attempts to be about many things, it winds up being about very 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.

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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.

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"Chronically Metropolitan."

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; also on VOD

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