OF BROADWAY (director/writer:
Sean Baker; screenwriter: Darren Dean; cinematographer: Sean
Baker; editor: Sean Baker; cast: Prince Adu (Lucky), Karren
Karagulian (Levon), Aiden Noesi (Prince), Keyali Mayaga
(Karina), Kat Sanchez (Linda), Victoria Tate (Nadia);
Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Darren Dean;
Flatirin Film; 2008)
"A story just as counterfeit as the fake brand purses its characters are pushing."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Baker ("Take Out") directs this low-budget sentimental dramedy
about unexpected fatherhood giving a lost soul street
hustler a more human presence. It's cowritten by Baker
and Darren Dean, who capture the realistic flavor of
the streets for its pesty streetwise merchants who operate with
reckless abandon at the underbelly of NYC's famous
garment district selling fake prestige. Unfortunately
the narrative, told documentary style by a cast of
non-professionals, seems about as real as the
knock-off goods it's selling.
Illegal immigrant from Ghana, Lucky
(Prince Adu), hustles illegal knock-off brand
merchandise on Broadway. His boss Levon (Karren
Karagulian), an Armenian-Lebanese immigrant, who married
three years ago to get a green card, operates a
storefront with a concealed back room filled with
showcased fake goods. Lucky uses his gift of gab to lure
bargain-hungry customers into the store by hustling in
the bustling streets fake name brand products sold
cheaply. Free-spirit Lucky's life dramatically changes
when his low-life loud-mouth ex-girlfriend Linda (Kat Sanchez) leaves
him an unnamed 18-month-old boy (Aiden Noesi) and
says he's the father, as she callously splits to live
with her thug boyfriend. Life becomes complicated for
Lucky, who bemoans his fate for the rest of the film and
is not even sure the mixed race lightskinned kid is his.
Lucky doesn't know how to care for the kid and his
current girlfriend Karina (Keyali Mayaga) doesn't
joyously accept the news of his fatherhood.
The film's theme about the
new immigrants pursuing a fake American Dream gets the
heavy-handed treatment, and the pic ends on a messy
pat false note giving us the impression that things
will be OK because Lucky finally accepts
responsibility to look after the child and will soon
earn money again because he's ready to resume working
as a hustler as soon as his boss clears up the matter
of a court appearance resulting from the police raid
at his storefront.
The filmmaker implies that
it's OK to pursue wanting fake goods and perverting
the American Dream, which seemed to me a bogus life
lesson that never can get past seeming to be a story
just as counterfeit as the fake brand purses its
characters are pushing.
REVIEWED ON 11/22/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ