It is just way too hot out. I’m not on fire or anything, but it’s not fun. So what’s better than looking at people in summer dresses working retail in NYC, while there’s a subplot about NYC real estate that doesn’t seem even remotely real? I have no idea, but here we go into Summer in the City, which I will flat out say I’ve seen before and made fun of before and am happy to do so again.
We meet Taylor Morgan (whose name couldn’t be blander if the writer actually tried, which I don’t believe they did). She’s always wanted to live in NYC, ever since she realized what a cotton-blend fabric is. As someone who reads labels, it’s not that exciting. She works in a tiny dress shop in someplace Ohio, and we are greeted with the first “name” in the movie – Vivica A. Fox, who I wish could have a better career. She stops in and observes Taylor helping a client pick out a dress for a job interview. One was a sleeveless dress with fake black lace on it, and the other was a shirtwaist dress in maroon. The girl picks the maroon, but VAF says either would have been fine for a job interview. Maybe I am showing my age, but no, VAF, the sleeveless dress with fake lace would not be appropriate for a job interview unless you had a jacket, and we were sans jacket in this scenario, so by this one piece of dialogue, you have negated any credibility you might have had about being someone who knows fashion and who has a trendy store in NYC. That being said, VAF is so very impressed with Taylor’s ways of selling that she immediately offers her a job managing her store in NYC, and even offers to get her a place to stay while she gets settled. VAF’s character’s name is Alyssa Stone, but we are just going to keep calling her VAF. Anyway, since it’s always been Taylor’s dream to live in NYC – off she goes!
And off we go into a lot of NYC building shots, and Taylor’s in a cab, but all this B-roll of NYC that is ostensibly Taylor looking out the window just means that her taxi driver took her on the longest route ever – you can’t go from 1 World Trade to Times Square and then to Madison Ave in 1 second…that’s not even the way to get from the airport! It’s like the time in Men in Black that Will Smith was outside Grand Central Station running, and then all of a sudden, he’s run into the Guggenheim. Or when Melanie Griffith ran from Potsdam to Berlin in an evening gown and slippers in that weird WW2 movie where she pretended to speak German. Anyway, I’ve totally digressed.
A-Line, the store that VAF owns, is on a corner somewhere, probably on Madison. It is being run by two snooty, dressed in black, name-dropping girls named Who and Cares, and they outdo the snooty shop girls in Pretty Woman with their condescension as Taylor arrives with her suitcases and her way too big and not at all fashionable hat. Who and Cares are suitably pissed that VAF hired Taylor to be their manager when she is wearing such an atrocious chapeau, but VAF don’t care, because VAF is working on “an expansion” and jets off to do that, leaving Taylor in charge of this store after meeting her once in a tiny store in Ohio. Whatever VAF. It’s your funeral.
VAF also arranges for Taylor to go stay with one of the shop girls and neither Taylor nor the girl is happy about this arrangement, especially Taylor, because apparently, Taylor is afraid of cats. She’d hate my office, then – there’s some kind of feral cat hill in the back, where they just watch you judgementally while you walk by.
Next day, she’s off to brave NYC – the long line at Starbucks, the pushy people on the subway that don’t care if you spill your coffee, and above all, the stares she gets from the hat. STOP IT WITH THE HAT. And it doesn’t get better at work – where the other shopgirl complains, and as Taylor legit tries to be a good manager and help her out of her funk, shopgirl just insults Taylor’s wardrobe and Peaces-Out on a huge pile of black clothes that have to be restocked. Seriously, fire this girl.
Taylor takes her hat to lunch at a local pizzeria and has to wait on line and can’t figure out how to order at a typical NYC crowded pizzeria. There she encounters a cute, scruffy guy who takes one look at that hat and knows she’s ‘not from around here.’ He tries to order her pizza, but she wants to do it herself and walks away to where it is clearly Vancouver, not NYC. BUT! the next scene is Madison Square Park. I used to work right around there (sometimes.) And I can tell you that this is not adjacent to anyplace where there would be a high-end dress store. This is right by the Flatiron, where the Toy Building and the Housewares Building both went co-op, but no one is buying a $3000 Chanel dress.
Taylor enjoys her alone time in the park when her knight in shining pepperoni shows up to share a slice with her. He introduces himself as Phillip Bartell, and is very pushy, and gives her the “NYC means you got to push harder,” but then he tells her to be herself. Whatever, dude. He’s also a realtor, and wants to help her find an apartment.
VAF’s “Expansion” is 3 new stores in 3 years, and she’s got 60 days to show double-digit growth in the existing store or her investors are out. I wonder if the writers actually know anything about retail and investments, because I don’t and I don’t think this plot point sounds feasible, especially with the killer downward line on the graph VAF is flashing around. Oh, and Who and Cares, the shopgirls, keep giving Taylor dirty looks. But Taylor is tasked with gaining foot traffic, and her first idea is to hand out cookies outside the couture shop. Damn, Ohio, that’s dumb.
VAF wants Taylor to be honest, so she’s got to tell it like it is to the customers. Yeah, that’ll work. BTW – all of this was before the first commercial break. Her first try at being honest is with 2nd Star alert, Natasha Henstridge, and it does not go well.
In her quest to find an apartment via the internets, its also not going well. Maybe she should ask that cute pizza realtor guy.
Natasha Henstridge comes back! She’s apparently a soap opera actress, and she is down with Taylor’s honesty, and shops a lot. Yay for Taylor! With that win, she calls Philip and off they go to house hunt! (FYI, she brings her hat house shopping). They have thoughts about aspirations, and we find out that Philip’s realtor agency is owned by his parents. Then he takes her to an Indian Food Truck area, and he confesses that he just wants to own a food truck. As one does.
Shopgirls are starting to see that Taylor makes sense when she talks to customers, and then Philip stops by and both girls are green with envy at how cute he is – and then encourage her to get on that boy, fulfilling Sassy Friend role, albeit very bitterly. But she takes their advance and is off to Central Park to have a Cuban Sandwich with him, and he has to daintily scrub the mustard off her face. No guys do that. They swap business philosophies and are friends. Yay.
Who and Cares (actual names Mindy and Brittany?) are now coming to Taylor for fashion advice, because her boho look is better their all black ensembles. And for her next trick, she’s going to have a sidewalk sale. Double digit growth? Not yet! But VAF is not upset, so Taylor is off to 5th Avenue to walk around in a knit dress in the summer. Sure. That’s what I do when I’m feeling jaunty.
Taylor decides to stay in the tiny apartment with Mindy, so she doesn’t need a realtor, but she and Philip are still friends, so he takes her and her hat (and her corduroy jacket in the summer?) sightseeing. Philip’s food truck idea is only to be parked outside city landmarks like the Empire State Building. We also get her backstory about how her fiance cheated on her so that’s why she’s so gunshy about having any kind of relationship with Philip. He invites her to his apartment for dinner. Everyone – this is the most UNREALISTIC apartment in NYC ever. It’s all white, and has a balcony and a windy staircase, and a view, with greenery, and it’s obviously Canadian. But the dinner he makes is Cincinnati Chili and the Ohio State Cookie. He.Is.Tying.Too.Hard. But she loves it, and says he needs to serve chili in his food truck.
The magic of the chili gets Taylor to let her guard down, and there’s some snogging on the balcony! (In passing, that word is both great, and gross).
In Taylor’s world, she still has to get double-digit growth, and while filing, she finds VAF’s long lost fashion sketches. She gets an idea, and she also gets another date with Philip, who takes her to see a food truck. He’s so excited to be branching out to do something he loves – because Taylor is inspiring. But Philip’s family is not as accepting to Phil’s food truck dreams. She tells him to follow her heart, and he lays out the ultra smooth line “why do you think I’m here with you?” that coincides with a hand-hold. However, Taylor is being obtuse about the whole thing because we have 40 more minutes to go and we can’t have a story where they get together half-way through, and she’s like, “hey, I like you, but let’s hit pause right now because I have a job and life’s super hard for me and my hat.” You know what’s hard, Taylor Morgan? Living without love. (Oh, damn, I just went there…I was going to go on a soapbox about being a working mom. But I stand by that. Taylor and your perfectly preserved blow out that never gets mashed no matter HOW MANY TIMES YOU WEAR THAT HAT, get your head out of your butt.)
Philip rightly calls shenanigans on Taylor’s stupidity, and she bends a bit, but not by much. Plus, she still needs him to find an apartment.
Before she can find her dream apartment, though, Natasha Henstridge comes back to return a few dresses, and VAF is not having it, so she’s deducting whatever out of Taylor’s paycheck, and VAF, you have no clue how to run a business.
Back to the apartment: it’s in a cute building that is not a brownstone (because it’s in Canada, not NYC), and the apartment is gorgeous – she’d only be subletting, though. We also find out that Philip’s family has talked him out of the food truck idea, and Taylor is sad for him.
VAF is still struggling with her expansion idea, and basically wants Taylor to fix it for her, because apparently, after having a successful business for several years, she can’t figure out how to tie her shoes now without the help of this 20-something from Ohio. CALLING SHENANIGANS ON THE WRITERS HERE. Taylor says she’ll come up with something – methinks those old sketches she found will come into play! Philip takes her to the High Line to brainstorm some more. The High Line is pretty.
Taylor tries to get Who and Cares involved in the sketches she found, but they don’t get it. Philip doesn’t know anything about women’s fashion, but he believes in Taylor because she’s go spunk, so off she goes. And Philip has a friend who runs a costume shop and he’ll make all the dresses!
But when they show them to VAF, it does not go well because VAF doesn’t like surprises, and sees the whole thing as a betrayal. We find out that VAF thought that her designs were crap and she completely overreacts and Taylor quits before she could get fired, and Philip chases after her but only shouts her name ineffectually three times before she disappears in a cab. She heads back to Ohio.
VAF is upset. And she’s doubly upset when Natasha Henstridge comes back into the shop, will only work with Taylor, and loves the mannequins still set up with VAF’s designs. So back VAF goes to Ohio for some coffee and humble pie. She offers Taylor a partnership in her chain of stores, and Taylor is headed back to NYC! Overhead shot of the Brooklyn Bridge shows a ton of traffic.
When Taylor comes back, the shop is liquidating to move to a different location, and Taylor has a conniption about it – VAF’s business plan is now more mass-market than anything else, and even though VAF and Taylor are supposed to be partners, Taylor now just has 1 day to figure out how to keep the store high-end, and if it doesn’t work, VAF is signing, without Taylor. So that partnership idea…VAF, how did you imagine that working? Do you not understand the concept of partnership? WRITERS are you just padding for conflict because you have no new ideas?
You know who Taylor didn’t tell she was coming back from Ohio? Philip! But he’s surprised by her standing outside his favorite food truck. She wasn’t answering his texts though, and he’s super in love with her and she’s there just wanting to eat her chicken masala. She totally says she has to focus on her career. Girl, bye. You just made Philip have The Sad Times.
Taylor is working overtime by Googling “How To Make a Business Plan.” She also sleeps with way too much eye make up on. She flies in the next day to stop VAF from signing the papers – basically, one flagship store and online presence, with personal shopping options. Taylor tells VAF she can have it all! And now VAF tells Taylor that she too can have it all – literally VAF has become the Sassy Friend and tells Taylor to go on, girl.
Montage of Taylor running around streets of Canada and New York looking for Philip – who just drives up, in the shadow of the Chrysler Building, in a new food truck called “Phil’s Landmark Chili.” Taylor also gets the awesome sublet apartment, and they get to snog some more in the food truck at a red light before the credits roll.
So. I like NYC getting represented, but the mix of Canada and NYC is disconcerting. Taylor was such a cliche to the point that VAF literally says, “Don’t be a cliche.” And I’m sorry, but chili in a food truck sounds disgusting, especially in the summer. But I had fun writing about this one, revisiting just the amount of annoyance I had last year when I watched it. Don’t think I’ll watch it again, but was glad to do it today, just so you don’t have to.