Even if you love people people, and believe New York is a city with a heart, you still may not be able to stomach "Slow Dancing in the Big City," built on these two great current Madison Avenue cliches.

This is the story of Sarah Gantz, a ballet dancer on her last legs, and Lou Friedlander, a newspaper columnist who cares about the little person. They meet on the landing of a run-down walk-up. He says "Don't let the bedbugs bite." She says, "You're a poet."

These repeated attempts to tug the heart-strings hurt. A heart-warmer that doesn't get warm is worse than, say a thriller that doesn't thrill. And this one has all the very personal charm of a corporation that brags, "We care about you - we care about people."

What's unfortunate is that under all this laughable phoniness there seems to have been an idea for a story. The dancer, played by Canadian ballerina and choreographer Anne Ditchburn, didn't need a disease that is to destroy her physique just as the curtain comes down, and the columnist, played by Paul Sorvino, needn't have laid on the Jimmy Breslin folksiness quite so thick. As a sympathetic team - she spare physically and emotionally and he correspondingly soft - they could have done something with a story about two professionals who have made it just of far and are to go no further. The film suggests that when it opens with twin scenes of them working late - driving themselves, though tired, to get it right - and then drops this in favor of the truisms of the yogurt generation.