London Calling?: Relationship Flick Actually Set in NYC


The garrulous London takes place in New York, but it might as well be Wichita Falls for all the time we spend out and about. Most of the action unfolds in a swanky apartment’s capacious, concrete-themed bathroom during a farewell bash for the titular head-turner (Jessica Biel). She’s bound for the West Coast to be with her boyfriend. But London flickers to life mostly in flashback, as her scruffy ex, the brokenhearted—and annoyingly verbose—Syd (Chris Evans), replays scenes from their tumultuous relationship, a bleak panoply of jealousy, sexual humiliation, and—worst of all—existential arguments in cleanly appointed beach houses.

Having crashed the party with newfound British drug dealer/buddy Bateman (Jason Statham), after an all-day bender, Syd resists confronting London one last time, instead skipping to the loo and snorting approximately one third of Colombia’s GNP. Syd’s emotional tailspin is embarrassingly banal, and his assertion that “everybody here hates me” quickly applies to the audience as well. Mercifully, Bateman is a slightly more interesting figure, a currency trader with a sideline in coke and an appetite for elaborate s/m. Alas, his deep dark secret, when finally revealed, is laughably not up to its preface (“Where you’re trying to push me is not a place you want to go,” he sternly advises Syd). Shouldn’t someone so pharmaceutically inclined have heard of Viagra?

During an early monologue by a stoned high schooler (Kelli Garner), first-time director Hunter Richards displays a playful visual sense that’s rarely tapped thereafter. We know little about Syd’s life—job, education, interests—apart from his fixation on London and adamant refusal to admit to his own considerable flaws. Indeed, it seems Richards himself is more than a little sick of his main man. As London puts it, “You keep going and going and going until people just want to bash your head in.”

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