Originally, director Marc Webb cast Miles Teller to play Thomas Webb, the protagonist in his new drama The Only Living Boy in New York. When Teller dropped out, Webb went with Callum Turner. Not sure that Teller would have made the film any better, but he likely would've portrayed Thomas with a bit more finesse. As played by Turner, Thomas comes off as incredibly brash and ultimately unlikeable in this mediocre movie. The film opens areawide on Friday.
The film commences with a voiceover that comes courtesy of W.F. Gerald, a writer of some magnitude, who, we soon learn has moved into Thomas' shabby apartment building to find inspiration for his next novel. W.F. instantly befriends Thomas, though Thomas at first doesn't know he's an author. Thomas quickly begins confiding in W.F. and tells him about his unrequited relationship with Mimi (Kiersey Clemons). W.F. gives him some fatherly advice.
Complications arise, however, when Thomas discovers his father (Pierce Brosnan) has been having an affair with Johanna (Kate Beckinsale), an associate his publishing company. Things become even more complicated when Thomas confronts Johanna. She suggests they get lunch so she can properly explain things to the "innocent" young boy. Their lunch somehow leads to sex and Johanna soon finds herself caught between Thomas and his father. All the while, W.F. teases Thomas for having "visions of Johanna."
While it's certainly within the realm of possibility that Thomas and Johanna would have a relationship, the movie doesn't make it seem believable. It doesn't help that Turner and Beckinsale have zero chemistry or that Beckinsale's character is so loosely formed. But the unlikely relationship between Thomas and Johanna represents just one of the film's many flaws. A poorly written script and the movie's surprise ending both work against it as well. A good indie drama would provide some reprieve from overblown summer blockbusters. Too bad The Only Living Boy in New York is such a dud.