Sumptuous sets, neon lights, and saxophones that blow the roof off are the defining features of New York New York. We follow Francine Evans (Liza Minnelli) and Jimmy Doyle (Robert De Niro) on their journey of love and success. The semi-musical film is obvious, and at times, an indulgent, love letter to old Hollywood musicals and of course the big apple itself. The film's first act is charming but the second act falls flat on the ear, despite Minnelli and De Niro's excellent performances. The two central players are two forces of nature, pouncing on the next line with veracity; yet the second act fails to match this energy, instead choosing to plod along.
Thankfully, a long but gorgeous musical sequence focused around Minnelli brings any sleepy audience members back into the conscious sphere with irresistible dance numbers and songs. Minnelli's prowess is untameable as she rips the meta stage/screen musical into pieces with a gleeful look.
A sombre ending follows which rounds out the piece nicely. As the neon lights start to fizzle out and the rain begins to pour on New York's streets, the audience is left thinking one thing about Scorsese's experiment on film artifice; did La La Land steal without anyone realising?