A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Give love a chance, even (or especially) if things like texting, dating apps, and social media make it trickier.
Positive Role Models
Characters are likable but not clear role models. Stereotypical gender roles are flipped: Men are portrayed as being more interested in finding someone special and settling down, are shown chatting about relationships while getting facials in pink bathrobes; women have sexual agency, are in control of their sexual choices.
The story is about an interracial couple. Male romantic lead is portrayed as emotionally sensitive; his work life is incorporated into the story, but very little is known about any of the other characters outside their romantic relationships, including the female lead. Attention given to accepting male body diversity.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Plot revolves around "friends with benefits" sexual arrangement. Matter-of-fact conversations about having sex, including a consent-based sexual contract, but no one is shown anywhere close to having sex. Conversations about sexual activity acknowledge use of condoms. Kissing. Flirting.
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A few uses of "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Primary characters play drinking games at a bar. Character pulls out a cigarette before saying she doesn't smoke. Drinking wine in a romantic scenario.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dating & New York is a romcom about relationships in the digital age. It aims to show that the classic cinematic storybook romance can't exist in today's world of texting, dating apps, and social media. The primary plot device is a couple's sexual contract, instigated by the woman, in which the couple agree to have friendship-based sex regularly while still pursuing other romantic and sexual entanglements. While a lot of the dialogue is flirty, sexual banter -- and the film is essentially about casual sex -- no sexual activity takes place on-screen other than kissing. Stereotypical gender roles are flipped, with the main female character uninterested in a committed relationship, while the man pines away, hoping for a long-term relationship. A few scenes involve alcohol, including a drinking game, and a character holds a cigarette before stating that she doesn't smoke. Language is limited to a supporting character saying "s--t" a few times. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Thoroughly entertaining but obnoxiously derivative, this fairy tale romance is more of a statement that modern dating looks nothing like the romcoms of the past. And it's not wrong: For many people, dating has changed quite a lot since the time of When Harry Met Sally. Fewer people expect women to wait for guys to make the first move -- or even to wait for a moment of Serendipity to meet. Jonah Feingold makes a strong writing and directing debut with snappy dialogue, a creative trajectory, and a fresh concept; he didn't really need to pull material from other films to make his point, and the fact that he does detracts from Dating & New York's success. It feels less like he's paying homage to Nora Ephron, Lady and the Tramp, and L.A. Story and more like he's ripping them off.
The movie is laugh-out-loud funny in spots, although it's so proud of its own cleverness that it's also smug, as if it's waiting, hands on hips, for viewers to appreciate its brilliance. Milo's doorman (Jerry Ferrara) is the narrator; he gives advice to Wendy and Milo, saying things like "trust me, I know," but then never showing us why he knows or why he's the one voicing Wendy and Milo's love story. While the film succeeds in overturning traditional gender roles, it doesn't give the characters anything to talk about outside of pursuing love and lust, and it's pretty disappointing to see these old-school limitations in play when so much effort has been put into making a production designed to show how times have changed.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.