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.
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.
Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; also on VOD