Some of the biggest names to have graced this year’s Raindance Film Festival came in the form of Chronically Metropolitan’s cast which include Pretty Little Liars and How I Met Your Mother star Ashley Benson and the beloved Drake and Josh’s Josh Peck, the most loved latter of a duo since Otis (of the ‘Milo and’ variety), which is all very nearly as exciting as the lovely Noel Clarke’s involvement in fellow Raindance selection, The Habit of Beauty. It’s all packaged into 90 short minutes of all things deceitful, damaging, and downright morally ambiguous whilst still managing to uphold its label of acting as one of those lovely romantic-drama films set in a chilly autumn or a snowy winter, where everything works out for its inevitable best even when the shit is hitting the fan at an abnormally fast rate with no time to duck or cover. At least, that’s what its idyllic snowy demeanour promised.
With only one screening of Chronically Metropolitan making itself known throughout the entirety of Raindance’s ten-ish days, crowds flocked to Vue’s screen two. This crowd, apparently, had not had its fair share of disappointment for the day it would seem; as the lights dimmed Chronically Metropolitan began its harrowing odyssey into a realm of disappointment that can only come from having the most Hollywood razzle-dazzle looking films with some of the biggest B-list-ish stars to ever be attached to an independent cinematic venture, have the most tedious, strung-out, and uninspired story-arc grace the dialogue of some frustratingly half-assed, shallow characters with the loose ends to match. A fair warning, this might be one of the most unironically cliché films of 2016.
Following the terrifyingly bland, yet-another-straight-white-man Fenton (sadly not of the ‘oh Jesus Christ’ kind) as he returns home to New York City after a year in exile after writing a high-profile article that took both a little too much inspiration from his friends and family, and the trust they each had in him, to find his ex-girlfriend is to be wed to another man. There’s a lot of pretty decent performances, or rather, there’s a lot of performances that stray as far away from being described as ‘shoddy’ as can be possible with their underdeveloped, unlikeable characters that reek of cliché and mundanity, so at least it has that to brag about. God knows it doesn’t have much else in the way of decency.
As for Chronically’s story-arc, I’ve really never seen so little happen in such a lengthy amount of time. Honestly, the plot points that make up this film could have been fit into a nice little half an hour and saved us all a lot of time, effort and brain-power wondering why that happened, or why that happened, or why on earth that ending was at all meant to be satisfactory. It’s a film so willing to dissipate regular human emotion for the sake of clunky exposition, that it remains to be seen why such an emotive and painful event was chosen to reside at the heart of its momentum. Whatever momentum that was anyway, Chronically Metropolitan makes it so easy to forget.
Chronically Metropolitan, directed by Xavier Manrique, was shown as part of the Raindance Film Festival 2016.