“The Broken Hearts Gallery” – “Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, everything that’s wonderful is what I feel when we’re together. Brighter than a lucky penny, when you’re near, the rain just disappears, dear, and I feel so fine just to know that you are mine.” – Lesley Gore, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows”
Spend five minutes with Lucy Gulliver (Geraldine Viswanathan), and Lesley Gore’s 1963 bubblegum tune might immediately pop into your head. This 20-something is a lively, witty lass who feels lucky in life! She lives with her two supportive best friends Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo) in a gorgeous Brooklyn apartment and loves her job as an art gallery assistant. Lucy has it all, except a sustained, loving relationship. Hey, it didn’t work out with Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar), and although Lucy still sees him in passing, all she has left from their short-term spell of bliss is his tie. You see, Ms. Gulliver saves mementos from her ex-boyfriends, and some of her keepsakes are a retainer, an espresso machine, a sock, and some toenail clippings.
Thankfully, writer/director Natalie Krinsky doesn’t point her camera at the said item, and “The Broken Hearts Gallery” has no icky ulterior motives. Even though the picture copes with letting go of past heartbreaks, this rom-com has lots of feel-good intentions.
Krinsky creates a world of wondrous possibilities, open spaces, and big dreams in an urban paradise filled with Ubers, coffee shops, and start-ups on every street (or virtual) corner. Sure, this utopia does exist in real life. Then again, thousands and thousands of young professionals – inspired by the NBC hit “Friends” – flocked to The Big Apple in the 1990s and 2000s, but then they realized that Rachel and Monica’s spacious place rents for $25,000 a month.
Krinsky’s flick has a couple of on-screen realities. First, it should connect with its target audience. Not only are the movie’s lovely settings and tones nestled with enjoyable movie-goodness, but Lucy is infinitely likable. Credit Viswanathan. For those who haven’t seen the “Miracle Workers” TBS series (and include me in this group), this movie is her star turn. She’s a charismatic comedic actress who has Amy Schumer’s quick wit and humility combined with Ellie Kemper’s positive vibes. Lucy may badly flub a public speech, but she owns an engaging, girl-next-door, can-do bravado.
Every new introduction – on the ever-busy NYC streets – is an opportunity for friendship. Hence, her unexpected second meeting with her pseudo-Uber driver sparks an enthusiastic wave as she declares, “Oh, hey, I know that guy too. Adolfo-Nick! What’s up, dude?”
It turns out that Adolfo-Nick is just named Nick (Dacre Montgomery), and this financially struggling, wannabe hotel owner becomes Lucy’s new friend, and she invites herself into his lodging project as an art gallery business partner. Since Max currently sits – somewhat distantly – in her rearview mirror, romance might bloom between Nick and Lucy.
What do you think?
Well, “The Broken Hearts Gallery” follows familiar formulas, but that’s okay.
Unfortunately, the other reality is that the picture feels so light and airy that the heavier messages about letting go carry little weight. On the one hand, Krinsky includes plenty of vibrant eye and ear candy like Lucy and Nick moving a mustard-colored couch across the city and the pair singing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” at Amanda’s birthday party, but nothing ever feels at stake. Just about every adult on Planet Earth has attempted to mend their own broken heart, so the film’s universal message certainly is relatable, but the breezy tones mute any intended emotional impact. This film’s dramatic moment of truth also lands flat. A few subplot cul-de-sacs, Montgomery’s distant performance, and the surprisingly-long 105-minute runtime don’t help connect broader audiences either. (For the record, when you don’t care if the featured couple gets together, that’s a problem.)
Still, Soo (“Hamilton” (2020)) sings poorly on purpose for about five seconds, and Bernadette Peters has some welcome screen time in a limited supporting role, so maybe that’s worth the price of admission for you. Well, if you want to see “The Broken Hearts Gallery”, go because Viswanathan truly has the whole sunshine-lollipops-and-rainbows thing down.
⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Image and Trailer Credits: Sony Pictures Entertainment