Steven Tylor O’Connor’s short-ish film Welcome to New York follows one day in the life of therapist Dr. Rosenblatt (Sherry Vine) as she counsels her clients about recent events in their lives. Cassie (Megan Kane) has a bizarre and awkwardly violent encounter with a stranger while trying to hail a cab, Mick (Nick Page) has a less than stellar evening with a guy he goes home with after performing as his drag alter ego Lauren, Ryan (Matthew Watson) can’t seem to find love that isn’t fleeting or crazy, Simone (Ashleigh Murray) has a disturbing encounter with a deli worker and Jake (Sean Paul Lockhart) has a wonderful date with a guy whose name he can’t remember. As the tales are told, it becomes clear that while New York City may be big, it’s a small world after all, as everyone unknowingly seems to cameo in each other’s different tales.
While the various characters in Welcome to New York do seem to be somewhat intertwined beyond their choice of therapist, there’s really not much of a connection between the pieces beyond “these are things that could happen in New York City.” Which, if that’s the aim, then, yes, it succeeds… barely. I don’t know what else there is to take away from the film beyond just the uniqueness of its setting.
I mean, the segments all have their little tales, but seldom do they have any resolution within their own telling, and Dr. Rosenblatt doesn’t really help out all that much. So you hear a couple stories, not always the most interesting (you get the feeling that the actors’ performances while playing the characters were to be the selling point moreso than the stories they relate), but is the only thing I’m supposed to take away from the film is that these are New Yorkers having probably predominantly New York moments? If there is more to it, I must admit that I missed it.
Still, while I found Welcome to New York to be mostly surface level, it doesn’t mean it didn’t have its moments. Sherry Vine has a charm that is all her own, which probably isn’t for everyone, and her presence often runs the risk of overwhelming the other actors on screen, but everyone seems to hold their own just fine. For as many overpowering personalities are on display, there’s a healthy balance to the performances that keeps it from becoming just a bunch of actors chewing the scenery for all the ham they can find.
The film is also pretty funny, with more than a few moments that got a good laugh out of me. So while it may sound like I’m ragging on the flick a bit too much, it actually wasn’t unpleasant to watch. I was just missing something deeper. Maybe had it gone with fewer characters and a more fleshed out singular tale, it could’ve accomplished more depth. Or maybe if the stories went even more bizarre or absurd, the entertainment value would’ve at least increased enough to make me care less about the lack of depth. As it is, it’s a fine, simple collection of loosely connected New York-based stories, but I’d argue you could possibly set the same tale in a different major metropolitan city and achieve similar results. Well, maybe not in Detroit, but imagine how interesting those stories could be.
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