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Autumn in New York

Starring Richard Gere and Wynona Ryder
Screenplay by Allison Burnett
Directed by Joan Chen
website: www.mgm.com

IN SHORT: chick flick [Rated [PG-13], 105 minutes]

And I can't even scale this against other weep inducing epics because the studio didn't sneak it, so I couldn't do the usual Kleenex count on the date I lug along for these things. Usually, the lack of a preview is an indicator of a true and terrible stinker but that's not the case with this one. Yes, it's an average movie. One more like an old fashioned tragedy than a manipulative (ie "traditional") CF. The film's story dares to tip its hand almost from the beginning, that this tale of a 48 year old man falling for a 21 year old woman is both absurd and impossible and doomed from the start. While the film makes the New York City setting look absolutely spectacular -- and Central Park in the fall truly is -- you'll either buy into this relationship or find yourself frequently looking at your watch. There's little more than the relationship story at work here. The supporting characters feed it and do little else and the only other subplot at work does the same.

Then again, I've dated women who would plunk down hard cash money just to see Richard Gere cry. They would not be disappointed. And, yes, we're not to thick to get the analogy of "autumn" and the passing seasons of his character's life.

Gere plays restauranteur and ladies man Will Keane, tipping fifty and still flirting up a storm and, it is implied, jumping from bed to bed as well. Into his joint, one evening, comes a birthday party for 21 year old Charlotte Fielding (Wynona Ryder) and the hammer comes down on both of 'em at first sight. We've got to give credit to the Keane character, though. He knows that any thought of contact is just plain dumb. It is Charlotte that pushes the buttons, because she knows that there is no way for the relationship to last more than a year. She is dying of something called a neuroblastoma, basically described as either a "weak heart" or a "soft tissue tumor in her chest".

With the shock value thankfully removed, all that's left is the up and down of relationship -- Gere learning to abandon his wild ways. Ryder deciding that maybe she does want to undergo experimental surgery after all. The pair learning that love isn't what they expected at all. Or something like that. Gere's character has a couple of other relationship issues to work out, but we'll leave that be.

Sorry, folks, we're totally at a loss on this one. The sight of Richard Gere crying is topped only by the sight of the man begging for forgiveness. And, frankly, dropping those tidbits is the best way I have of cluing you in as to whether or not you're the market here. Lord knows I'm not.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Autumn in New York, he would have paid...

$3.00

Most of the time we'd duck and drop this up at dateflick level, with a warning to the guys to bear down. But, and this is based on way too many years of dating, if your lady isn't prone to wetworks walking in, I don't think it'll be the kind of movie either will be happy with paying full ticket price for. Thus, the rental level.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Joan Chen
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