New York City Serenade (2007)

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama
Anchor Bay || R - 103 minutes - $26.97 || March 24, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-04-07

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Frank Whaley
Writer(s): Frank Whaley (written by)
Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Chis Klein, Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Theatrical Release Date: October 3, 2008

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Featurette

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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.::THE FILM::.

Writer/Director and Actor Frank Whaley’s New York City Serenade is a mysterious film, one with some decent performances but a dull story that really never gets firm traction. As a drama it came close to being over-the-top and as a comedy, some of which was actually funny, never quite gelled with the dramatic aspects. I’m not sure what Whaley was trying to accomplish. Is it an ode to the City That Never Sleeps? Not really since a good chunk of the second act takes place elsewhere. Is it an ode to the Woody Allen dramatic-comedies which were themselves ode to New York City? I really don’t know.

The movie apparently has been sitting somewhere since 2007 and made a very limited run in the States (October 2008 according to IMDb), and it’s not that the film is terrible or a waste of time, because it isn’t. The cast seemed to have some good chemistry with one another and the clichéd but funny comedy sidekicks played by Alexander Chaplin (“Spin City”) and Ben Schwartz are both a riot and one of the bright spots in what is an otherwise average movie.

New York City Serenade is the story about buddies Owen (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Ray (Chris Klein) struggling through life in the Big Apple. Owen is a filmmaker whose short film has been accepted into a low-key film festival while Ray is a failing musician who goes from job to job while searching for the next bottle of alcohol and hot chicks. But even though Owen works in a dead end job at a photo print shop, he’s engaged to a beautiful young woman (Jamie-Lynn Sigler). But soon enough Owen and Ray’s lives begin to unravel...

I will give Frank Whaley credit for making a simple, yet ambitious film that could’ve been a call back to the old Woody Allen movies if only the screenplay were fleshed out more. The principle cast, while not noteworthy performances (especially Klein early on as he’s playing the drums, looked really odd) fill out their roles fine and some spots actually showed promise.

I wouldn’t say you should stay away from New York City Serenade, but only if you have nothing else to watch. There are certainly worse movies out there so you can’t go too wrong with this one.


The disc includes an audio commentary with writer/director Frank Whaley and Actors Ben Schwartz (Russ), Alexander Chaplin (Terry) and Heather Bucha (Mary and Whaley’s wife) and Behind the Scenes of New York City Serenade (14:07), a featurette with some interview, and behind-the-scenes, footage with the cast (Prinze Jr., Sigler, etc) and crew (Whaley).


The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 1.78 aspect ratio. The video quality is fairly soft overall but it’s an acceptable transfer for an independent film.

The DVD comes with a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.


New York City Serenade isn’t a bad film and actually some has good moments but indie writer/director Frank Whaley’s dramedy never really finds its rhythm and plays out almost like a pilot for a television series. The movie itself isn’t that memorable but if you have nothing else to watch, go for it.