8 items from 2005
Puppy love in all its wondrous and awkward glory is given the romantic-comedy treatment in "Little Manhattan", an Upper West Side story cooked up by the husband-and-wife team of Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett.
While the juvenile performances are bright and engaging, and there's no shortage of genuinely humorous observations about love and life in the Big Apple, there's an inescapable small-screen dynamic to the scope and rhythm of the production.
That effect is further amplified by having those young observations filtered through an adult sensibility but delivered in nonstop narration by its 11-year-old protagonist.
And while it's a technique that worked memorably on television's "The Wonder Years", where Levin was a co-producer, it begins to wear a little thin in a feature format.
Opening this weekend in limited New York engagements, the picture also poses a major marketing challenge for Fox because the stars are a bit on the young side for the usual romantic-comedy female demo, while most kids aren't going to respond to all that icky, lovey-dovey stuff.
Meet Gabe Burton (Josh Hutcherson), an average fifth-grader who's content to hang around with his buddies, play hoops and ride his scooter around his safely removed Upper West Side neighborhood.
Back at home, things are a little more complicated. Even though his parents (Bradley Whitford and Cynthia Nixon) have been separated for more than a year, they still share the same apartment -- welcome to the reality of New York real estate -- as well as the same refrigerator, though the food has been divvied up and identified accordingly.
But Gabe's life really gets thrown for a loop when he is reacquainted with his old nursery school friend, Rosemary (newcomer Charlie Ray), in his karate class, and it's smitten torment all the way.
Striking a balance that seems to fall exactly halfway between "The Wonder Years" and Woody Allen, officially credited screenwriter Flackett and officially credited director Levin keep things on the pleasantly amusing side and coax some winningly winsome performances out of their young leads.
But ultimately, aside from a prevailing vibe that's more sitcom than rom com, there's something a bit precious and restrictively insular about "Little Manhattan"'s Manhattan, a place that has been given the same heavily romanticized and gently sanitized look as those early Allen pictures (with the help of Oscar-nominated "Hannah and Her Sisters" production designer Stuart Wurtzel).
Although the filmmakers have availed themselves of real Gotham locations, their take on modern-day New York -- one in which an 11-year-old's idea of an awesome time is going on a date to hear cabaret singer Loston Harris croon "Teach Me Tonight" -- ends up having all the immediacy and vibrant authenticity of studio backlot tour.
20th Century Fox
Regency Enterprises presents a Pariah/New Regency production
Director: Mark Levin
Screenwriter: Jennifer Flackett
Producers: Gavin Polone, Arnon Milchan
Executive producers: Ezra Swerdlow, Vivian Cannon
Director of photography: Tim Orr
Production designer: Stuart Wurtzel
Editor: Alan Edward Bell
Costume designer: Kasia Walicka Maimone
Music: Chad Fischer
Gabe: Josh Hutcherson
Adam: Bradley Whitford
Leslie: Cynthia Nixon
Rosemary: Charlie Ray
Ralph: Willie Garson
Birdie: Tonye Patano
MPAA rating PG
Running time -- 86 minutes »
Former Sex And The City star Cynthia Nixon has signed up to make a guest appearance in Hugh Laurie's hit medical drama House. The sexy redhead will play a patient who suffers a seizure and matches wits with Dr. House, played by Laurie. The episode is scheduled to air in America this December. »
Desperate Housewives stars Doug Savant and Jesse Metcalfe were up before dawn yesterday helping to build homes in Burbank, California. The stars of the hit Us TV show were among the celebrity volunteers helping erect homes for charity Habitat For Humanity. While the actors were banging and sawing in California, Jessica Alba, Cynthia Nixon and Brooke Shields were on hand in New York for another Habitat For Humanity building project. The celebrities who take time out to help build the new homes for the homeless families, who work alongside them, are being asked to sign the walls they put up. »
Regency Enterprises' Little Manhattan, set for release by 20th Century Fox, will have its New York premiere at an outdoor screening Aug. 27, the closing night of the third annual Central Park Film Festival, hosted by the Central Park Conservancy. A romantic comedy set in Manhattan and shot entirely in New York, the film, written by Jennifer Flackett and directed by Mark Levin, stars Josh Hutcherson, Charlie Ray, Cynthia Nixon and Bradley Whitford. It opens theatrically Sept. 30. »
Actress Kristin Davis faced a tough line of questioning during a visit to David Letterman's chat show on Wednesday night, when she was quizzed about pal Cynthia Nixon's lesbian relationship. Davis appeared on the show to promote her new movie The Adventures Of Shark Boy & Lava Girl In 3-D, but within minutes of taking a seat, Letterman grilled her about Nixon's romance with Christine Marinoni. When Letterman enquired if Nixon is a lesbian or if she's "just visiting", Davis answered, "I don't personally know but I think she says that she doesn't need a label. Doesn't need one, isn't concerned about it..." The funnyman also raised a laugh when he asked if Danny Mozes, the father of Nixon's two children, "turned" also, before admitting of Nixon's romance, "In a way, it's kind of hot." While Davis is heterosexual, she informed Letterman she would "never say never" to the idea of one day having a relationship with a woman herself. »
Former Sex And The City star Cynthia Nixon has praised the media for treating her lesbian relationship with respect. The redhead actress became headline news last year when she exposed her romance with Christine Marinoni to the world, but the mum of two is pleasantly surprised the paparazzi have stopped following them around and allowed them to enjoy their relationship in private. She says, "There was an undue amount of focus on our relationship at first but it wasn't so bad. The explosion was soon over and people are very respectful about it." »
Sarah Jessica Parker ended her feud with Kim Cattrall after being reunited with her former Sex And The City co-star at her recent birthday bash thrown by husband Matthew Broderick. The sexy actress was joined by her previous cast mates Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Chris Noth at her 40th birthday celebrations in New York last Friday - as well as Cattrall, who had been blamed for vetoing the planned big-screen version of the popular TV show, reports the New York Daily News. Nixon, who attended the event with girlfriend Christine Marinoni, joked to the crowd, "I have nothing to do - thanks to Kim!" The birthday girl was serenaded by Nixon, who reworked a version of the song, "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face," inserting new lyrics about becoming used to Parker's beloved Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik stilettos, but added, "Now that I've become a lesbian, I don't wear any of those again". »
Cynthia Nixon will star in HDNet Films' One Last Thing ..., in which she'll play a mother whose son (Michael Angarano) is dealing with a terminal illness. Alex Steyermark, who most recently directed Prey for Rock & Roll, will helm the film from a screenplay by Barry Stringfellow. HDNet Films co-presidents Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente will produce the film along with Susan Stover. Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban, who head 2929 Entertainment, the parent company of HDNet Films, will executive produce. Last Thing involves an organization that grants last wishes to dying children, which is surprised when Nixon's son makes an unconventional request on national TV. »
8 items from 2005
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