Autumn in New York
Schmaltz ain't what it used to be. There was a time when one knew he or she was being given the romantic bum rush. But one also knew that was the point--and the guilty pleasure. In Joan Chen's beautifully photographed but utterly trite tearjerker Autumn in New York, the May-December romance between the eternal bachelor and restaurateur Will Keane (the silver fox Richard Gere) and the innocent, bubbling, Emily Dickinson-loving Charlotte Fielding (Winona Ryder, whose enchanting charm rises above this mundane material) stirs only crocodile tears. It isn't that the 50-year-old Gere and the 28-year-old Ryder are mismatched ("I collect antiques," Charlotte assures Will brightly), but that every narrative detail feels forced and foolish. Gere, dressed in dreary black, looks like a distant cousin of Dracula, swooping in and out of his trendy restaurant and down hospital corridors. Oh, didn't we mention? Someone is gravely ill. Yes, it's one of those. Save your money; this one will be a staple on the Romance Channel soon enough.