DVD Review: New York City Serenade - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DVD Review: New York City Serenade

Scene from "New York City Serenade" Scene from "New York City Serenade"

Independent, New York City filmmaker Frank Whaley develops a semi-autobiographical story about two friends whose friendship comes to its conclusion.

There's a moment when the two friends realize they're breaking up that's very powerful and makes the film quite compelling. Even though this film was shot several years ago and conceived a decade or more earlier, it's somehow perfectly timed for its DVD release in 2009.

The past year or so has seen several bromance films emerge with much success like Superbad and Pineapple Express. Those films were usually about male friendships growing stronger. This one is anti-bromantic because it's about a male friendship growing apart.

While this may seem like a bad thing, it's not. Along with the bromance films comes a reoccurring theme of arrested development. Typical in comedies, it's this idea of twentysomethings or even thirtysomethings not acting as grown ups.

On the DVD commentary, Whaley refers to it as a kind of "senile delinquency." Whaley is very comedic in his nature, and most of these bromances are comedic as well, but Whaley's actors, despite their comedy backgrounds, bring a dramatic weight and strength to this film that makes it very warm and touching. Not for nothing, the two male leads are very funny and charming.

Freddie Prinze Jr. (I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scooby-Doo) stars as Owen, an aspiring filmmaker who has been invited to a festival to screen his short film. While most might be brimming over the potential and possibilities of that, Owen has his insecurities.

Chris Klein (American Pie and Election) co-stars as Ray, a drummer who loves to party, loves to lie, loves to steal and loves to booze. This wouldn't be so bad, if he were still college-age. The fact is he's in his thirties. He's divorced with a daughter, and yet he's still acting like a frat boy.

When a series of unfortunate events puts the two life-long friends on a trip to a Midwestern film festival, Owen learns that his relationship with Ray can no longer be sustained. Again, while this may seem like a bad thing, it's not. It actually allows the two to face and perhaps settle their arrested developments.

Prinze and Klein worked together previously on stage and most likely are friends off stage. The two leads bring a natural chemistry, which works well to reinforce the significance of their characters' separation.

Five Stars out of Five
Rated R for language, brief sexuality and drug use
Running Time: 1 hr. and 43 mins.

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