Review by Dan Skip Allen
Two of the most prevalent topics in the history of movies are films in, around, or about the Big Apple and films about being in relationships and dating. The title of Dating & New York says exactly what you're getting into as a viewer.
Wendy (Francesca Reale), named after the literary character from Peter Pan, and Milo (Jaboukie Young-White), a stand-up comedian, meet each other on a dating site called Meet Cute. They meet at a nondescript bar in an out-of-the-way area of town to not garner any attention from friends or family. They hit it off pretty well. They spark off a relationship with a kiss in front of the bar amongst a pile of trash.
In the modern age of dating and relationships, social media plays a big part. The same goes for phones. Texting is a popular method of talking instead of actual discussions, but these two do like to make the rounds at a lot of different locations from diners, restaurants, bars, and parks. This allows them to get familiar with one another and introduce each other to friends.
They do have friends who are good for the relationship. Sometimes in films, friends and family members can get in the way of good positive relationships. That's not the case here. The friend is very supportive of this pairing. The problem is the titular couple may not be that into each other apart from a sexual sense. Being friends with benefits can be toxic for a burgeoning couple. These two are too into their heads in this regard.
This film has a pretty lighthearted feeling to it even though I would describe it as a drama. There are times of a comedic nature in the film, usually when the couple is having discussions and when they are out and about with their friends. This is where New York comes into the mix. It's a character in the film. The director/writer, Jonah Feingold, makes sure of that. The locations are a big part of the story.
Feingold infuses this film with a lot of fast dialogue and witty banter between the leads. There is some pretty straightforward dialogue regarding the millennials it depicts. They have this intelligence about them so they have to come across as pretty smart. That is a big part of why this film works. Sometimes relationship films can be a bit contrived, but this one isn't.
Feingold and company make a film that could have been very similar to a lot of other films in these genres. They don't though. For the most part, Dating & New York is a very smart, intelligent film that is enjoyable to watch.
Dating & New York is now in theaters and on VOD.