Person to Person Review
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Every day, more than eight million residents make their way through the hustle and bustle of New York City. And writer/director Dustin Guy Defa’s laidback New York drama Person to Person focuses on just a handful of them as they try to work, socialize, and build relationships during one relatively normal day.

Person to Person follows a number of New Yorkers through another busy day in the city. As Phil and Claire (Michael Cera and Abbi Jacobson) race through the city, trying to get a big scoop on a possible murder case, record collector Bene (Bene Coopersmith) chases down a rare album, while his roommate, Ray (George Sample III), tries to escape the wrath of his girlfriend’s angry brother. And, at the same time, moody truant teen Wendy (Tavi Gevinson) tries to navigate her own complicated relationships.

Person to Person is the other kind of New York movie. Instead of the flashy, stylish Manhattan kind of film, it focuses on the lives of the other people. The characters here are all rather eccentric—not like the high-fashion, high-powered New Yorkers that you often see in films. These are the outsiders and misfits: the angry teen, the shabby journalist, the aging watch repairman (Philip Baker Hall) and his buddies. And that’s what gives the film a touch of gritty charm.

Still, while these characters are quirky, that doesn’t necessarily make them (or their stories) compelling. Wendy is generally bad-tempered and obnoxious. Ray’s actions make him far from sympathetic—no matter how he attempts to justify them. And while there’s often something adorably awkward about Phil, his blatant desperation can be frustrating. Really, fashion conscious record collector Bene is the most strangely lovable character here—though, like the others, he isn’t given enough time to develop into a strong, solid character.

The stories, too, are haphazard and meandering. There are plenty of troubled relationships, a murder mystery, some shenanigans, and a whole lot of awkwardness—all set to a hip soundtrack. It certainly has some amusing moments—but, for the most part, the film is just a random collection of eccentric characters and mildly entertaining storylines.

The idea of Person to Person is an intriguing (if not exactly original) one: following the lives of a variety of New Yorkers through a single day. And, had the characters and their stories been well-developed, it could have made for a captivating drama. Instead, it’s merely quirky but unremarkable.

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