Not rated, 110 min. Directed by Victor Mignatti. Starring Michael Shawn Lucas, Mara Hobel, Aaron Williams, Hugh Panaro, Gary Janetti.
At its best, Broadway Damage evokes the sweet melancholy of those post-college, twentysomething years when you're ambivalently ready for the world. It's a time of financial and emotional struggle, of occasional heartbreak, and of making mistakes, all made bearable by youthful resiliency. The film begins with the painful spectacle of wannabe actors Marc and Robert auditioning for an unspecified stage production. If truth be said, they're not very good; in fact, they're just short of awful. To make ends meet, the boyishly cute Marc works as a telephone operator booking tickets for Broadway shows, living in a six-flights-up Greenwich Village flat with fellow alumna, Cynthia, who spends most of her time irresponsibly using Daddy's charge cards. Marc and Cynthia are a fine pair who perversely complement each other: he's fixated on meeting the perfect-10 man of his dreams (much to Robert's chagrin), while she's obsessed with harassing Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown for a job, despite a total lack of magazine experience. Before it's all over, lessons are learned -- well, some critical self-evaluation occurs -- and things end on something close to happily ever after. Although Broadway Damage goes on a little too long, it's an engaging movie that remains true to its modest ambitions. If it can be faulted for anything, it's that it's too agreeable, lacking an edge that might have made it a more weighty experience. The performance of Lucas, who plays the film's central character, Marc, leaves you with the same feeling: it's nice, it's inviting, it's a tad bland. Of special camp interest is Hobel in the role of Cynthia. Remember her? All grown up now, she played the girl-devil Christina to Faye Dunaway's monstrous Mommy in that infamous movie about Joan Crawford's maternal instincts. Whether Hobel is intentionally charting a career playing spoiled brats remains to be seen, but there's one thing for sure: Nary a wire hanger is visible in Broadway Damage.
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