In the City

Cesc Gay

BY Travis Mackenzie HooverPublished Apr 1, 2005

There's a certain breed of bourgeois narcissist who thinks that every move they make is fraught with shattering importance, even when it's just the mundane day-to-day matter of dealing with others. Woody Allen's been playing to this audience for the last ten years, and now Cesc Gay (of Nico and Dani fame) has gotten into the act with In the City, which features a bunch of educated people doing mildly angsty things in the name of "serious drama." The usual melange of friends and lovers is on hand — a married woman flirting with lesbianism, a teacher having an affair with a student, a lonely woman making up non-existent romances for friends — and they're examined in great detail without really putting any pieces together. After a while, I lost interest in who was who, or whose problems were going to be solved and just let the bright colours and genteel circumstances wash over me in a pleasant wave. It's not a terrible film, and it's more credible than the average Allen opus, but there's not a single idea in its head or a single surprise in the way things play out. Those who find intellectuals and professionals sexy topics will find this entertaining, and it has a certain appeal as well-appointed eyewash. But it cries out for what distinguished Agnes Jaoui's Look at Me: a thesis about human behaviour that reaches beyond watching a bunch of well-meaning people having "adult" problems in attractive settings. Unlike that film, In the City is content to watch its characters thrash about blindly, which may press a few random buttons but doesn't leave one with much that the average soap opera can't give you just as easily. (Wolfe)

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