A self-conscious romantic comedy that sinks into melodrama, “5 to 7” tells a New York City-set story about an aspiring young writer and the beautiful, older French woman he meets outside of the St. Regis Hotel.
Anton Yelchin (“Like Crazy,” “Star Trek”) plays Brian. Although he’s 24, Brian apparently doesn’t need a job. He spends all of his time writing stories and opening the rejection letters that follow.
Berénice Marlohe (“Skyfall”) co-stars as Arielle. She’s nine years older than Brian and married with two young children.
Arielle, smoking a cigarette on a city sidewalk, catches Brian’s eye. He joins her for some quick, mutual smoking and flirting.
With “5 to 7,” writer-director Victor Levin — a TV veteran whose credits include “Mad Men,” “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Mad About You” — makes his feature-film debut. It’s nicely filmed and well acted by a fine cast. But the project amounts to minor-league Woody Allen. It’s much less amusing than Allen’s masterful New York stories and far too self-indulgent.
Brian and Arielle agree to meet again. She tells him she’s married. That news is supposed to be a deal-breaking culture clash between the potential lovers. Arielle’s revelation makes poor Brian, raised Jewish in America, dizzy. She’s cool with it. She’s French.
“I must say that in my culture it’s not judged so harshly,” Arielle says.
Brian, the story’s uptight American, tells the exquisite French woman that an affair with her would be “unethical.” He walks away but can’t stop thinking about her. Weeks later, Brian gives in.
The early days of Brian’s and Arielle’s affair has the heat, excitement and discovery of new love. Levin’s depiction of it is credible but not special. The succeeding shocks Brian experiences during his relationship with Arielle probably aren’t nearly as discomforting for audiences as Levin intended them to be.
Supporting cast members include Lambert Wilson as Arielle’s husband and Olivia Thirlby as Jane, a young American editor in Arielle’s circle. Glenn Close and Frank Langella show up as Brian’s bourgeois parents. The parents are more annoying than funny.
“5 to 7” goes wrong most of all during the film’s interminable, self-congratulatory epilogue. The film and its characters don’t earn it.