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Autumn In New York  

Will Keane (Richard Gere)
Charlotte Fielding (Winona Ryder)
Dolly (Elaine Stritch)
Lisa (Vera Farmiga)

Directed by Joan Chen Written by Allison Burnett and Paul Haggis

Rated PG-13 for language and some sensuality
Running Time: 104 minutes Distributed by MGM
Autumn in New York
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Autumn in New York is a ridiculous and sloppy romantic film. New York restaurateur Will Keane (Gere) is a verging on-50 womanizing master, until he meets Charlotte Fielding (Ryder). Charlotte is a 22-year old free spirit yearning to get out and taste the excitement of being an adult. Will indulges his interest in Charlotte, expecting yet another quick and easy romance. But nothing about Will and Charlotte's encounters are quick and simple, instead they are decisive with an unexpected sense of connection. Just as Will attempts escape from the relationship with his usual line about "not promising forever", Charlotte reveals a secret that Will has never faced or experienced.

Autumn in New York is an awful romantic film that lacks in almost every area of production and performance.

Allison Burnett and Paul Haggis wrote the script for Autumn in New York. The character of Will Keane is realistic, but there is no way I could route for him like the script intends. Keane is a typical playboy womanizer that uses many different tricks to get women into bed with him. Charlotte is his young love interest that is almost too sweet and obviously too good for Will. However, the two do fall for each other in the story and their relationship continues to grow through out the film. I didn't like the pairing of the two characters in this story, even though opposites do attract. There is one workable subplot in the film, but the overall sequencing crumples. Also, the dialogue is very flat and the emotions are weak. I found the overall script for Autumn in New York to be sluggish.

Actress Joan Chen directs her second feature film with Autumn in New York. There isn't anything special or good about the direction in this film. Even though the script tried to give the story emotion, Chen fails to grab visual moods and atmosphere of the genre. The director seemed to be searching for some passion that just wasn't there. An example of this is a shot of Will and Charlotte making love behind a glass structure, the heat from the two lovers breath fills the glass with moisture and then Charlotte slides her hand across the glass, wiping away the condensation. To me, the shot looked like a copycat from Titantic's passionate car scene.

Richard Gere is a pretty good romantic lead actor, but he is pretty dry as the womanizing Will Keane. Watch for Gere to be a lot better in his next film Dr.T and the Women, which will be released later this fall. Winona Ryder turns in what I believe is the weakest performance of her career as Charlotte. After being such a sparkle in last year's Girl, Interrupted, Ryder shoots blanks with her lost performance in this film. I believe that Ryder will bounce back from this rigid performance in the future. The only bright spot of the cast is Eliane Stritch, who turns in a funny performance as Charlotte's cranking and protective grandmother.

Like I said before, Autumn in New York is a terrible movie that doesn't click on much of anything. This film has one of the poorest scripts to come out of Hollywood this year.

Report Card Grade: D

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