|Garry Marshall's New York - a touch light, perhaps?|
So I did.
Fortunately, the US Census Bureau have a very handy website, with all sorts of fascinating information available to those who thirst for demographic enlightenment.
For instance, did you know that in 2010, "Black" & "Asian" people made up 38.2% of the city's 8,175,133 residents?
That "White persons not Hispanic" were only 33.3% ?
And that between 2005 and 2009, 47.1% of the over-5s spoke a language other than English at home?
Ok, so the film isn't remotely representative, but they could, of course, use what might be termed the "Friends" defence - that this particular group of people occupy a small social niche where they just happen not to encounter/know/work with/etc many people from non-white ethnic groups. (I never said it was a good defence, but it has to be allowed as a possibility, however miniscule).
In this case, however, the film's own production notes (available online here) stress the diverse range of characters & locations within New York, which leaves us with the thorny question - is there some unspoken "difficulty" in the film industry with a portrayal that's a bit closer to the demographics?
Racial/ethnic invisibility in the media is a serious issue - why aren't we seeing more non-white faces on the screen (beyond the usual litany of "Guns, Drugs & Ho's" stereotypes)? Can "the audience" really have a problem with the idea that in this sort of syrupy, no-mental-effort-required pabulum, 4 (or, really pushing the boat out here, maybe even 5) of the cast could be black? (With a token Asian as "comedy sidekick", of course, otherwise it'd never sell...).
I'm the last person who'd argue that introducing box-ticking quotas ever solved anything - "Hey, Carla, for this next scene we're going to need the Native American, the Thai ladyboy and the half-Hungarian albino lesbian, ok..?" - but seriously, if this big-budget, big-star, mush-fest is anything to go by, perhaps it's time to introduce busing to Hollywood.
It can work.
Just a thought.