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Film by boro writer targets middle-age romance

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If you're old enough to have a driver's license, you know about dating.

You're in the scene now, you want to be, or you have vivid memories, pleasant and not so pleasant. In any case, you know about it.

But do you know what it's like to date in Queens?

It's different than the experience anywhere else. Writer Richard Vetere, who's lived at 156th Street and Sanford Avenue in Flushing for more than 20 years, is ready to show you exactly how unique it is, when the film he authored, "How to Go out on a Date in Queens" is released in July.

"Most movies are set in a big city," Vetere told Qguide. "But Queens is more like a big town in a big city. It's not like Manhattan, and it's not like Long Island - which I hate."

Vetere believes that "the more specific you are [in setting the movie] the more universal" will be its appeal.

There hardly is a shortage of TV or film stories set in New York (read: Manhattan), everything from just about any Woody Allen movie to HBO's "Sex in the City." But "Queens is unique," Vetere said.

Vetere liked last year's film "Frequency," set in Bayside, but he didn't feel it conveyed much of the flavor of the borough. The older "Coming to America," set in Jamaica and Jamaica Estates, was truer to the borough, he said, but he has tried to interweave Queens into his new film, not merely set it there.

Vetere who discussed and showed clips of the film at Kaufman Astoria Studios during last weekend's Art Frenzy, said the movie is a little bit autobiographical - he's in his late 40s, never been married, currently in a relationship - but mainly was composited from people he has known. "I know Queens people," he said proudly.

Among the actors featured in the film is Jason Alexander, who turned being a loser in a date into an art form on "Seinfeld."

Here's a synopsis of the new movie:

In a restaurant-bar that management says is "one of Queens' best kept secrets," it's the January day of the Big Game, Denver vs. Tampa. The stories of the several middle-aged protagonists intersect in this Super Bowl Sunday at "Mandatori's Restaurant."

Stan, who considers himself an expert on dating, is trying to talk his best friend Artie to go on a blind date. But Artie, an artistic auto-body repairman, lost his young wife three years before and is hesitant to start dating again.

Meanwhile, Johnnie (Jason Alexander), a bookie in a failed marriage, finds out that he's in debt to the Russian mob for $270,000, because the nephew of his mistress has been using his name to make bogus wagers.

Things get more convoluted (the mistress has to tell Johnny she's pregnant and he's the father, a young couple has their nest egg bet on the Super Bowl) and Stan has to watch as his rules of dating fall apart.

The film certainly re-defines "date movie."

Reach Qguide Editor David Glenn at glenn@timesledger.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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