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(E) Holding out for a hero - TV Guide
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  05/4/2004 | Culture And Arts | Unrated
(E) Holding out for a hero - TV Guide


Holding out for a hero

Writer-director Erik Palladino's admirably subtle bit of chronological trickery allows his small-scale drama, set in 9/11 New York, to deliver a sucker-punch of an ending. Structured as a series of short scenes punctuated by blackouts, the film cuts back and forth between three apparently unconnected stories. Activist lawyer Roberta Vasquez (Daphne Rubin-Vega), perpetually on her cell phone, tries to balance battling bureaucratic indifference, mentoring her associate, Monique (Joelle Carter), and keeping her marriage alive. Roberta and her husband are trying to have a baby, but she sometimes wonders how they'll be able to raise a child when they can't find time to make one. Hardworking Kashmiri immigrant Mohammed (Ajay Naidu) maintains a sunny and optimistic attitude as he crosses paths with the many varieties of New Yorker who patronize his "Breakfast Time" food cart. Although Mohammed never planned to stay in New York, he has fallen in love, both with the city and a woman he's afraid his old-fashioned parents won't accept. The bulk of the film's running time is given over to morose writer Drew (Palladino), who works for a Marvel-like mainstream comic-book publisher. Drew has lost his will to write the same old superhero stories since his best friend, Bobby Goldberg, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Determined to pay tribute to Bobby, Drew persuades his reluctant boss (David Patrick Kelly) to okay "Justice," a limited-run series about "the hero inside us all" in which an everyman becomes a crime-fighter. The gimmick — the boss says there has to be one — is that the particulars of Justice's everyday life will be based on those of a real, ordinary person. Once the first issue is on the stands, Drew and his collaborator, artist Julia (Marisa Ryan), cook up a guerilla publicity campaign that attracts the attention of a Village Voice writer. Unfortunately, she wants to interview the regular Joe behind Justice, and Drew never got around to asking substitute teacher Tre (SPAWN star Michael Jai White), whom he met on a neighborhood basketball court, whether it was okay to appropriate the details of his life and bestow them on a comic-book vigilante. It's hard to tell whether Palladino meant the sullen, self-pitying Drew to be such an irritating drip; if he did, kudos for courage but the character still drags down an otherwise likable drama that draws its three stories together in a quietly effective climax. — Maitland McDonagh

Amy R. Baird
Amelia Dallis
Assoc. Producer
Martin Schepelern
Evan Oppenheimer

Evan Oppenheimer
Allison Eve Zell
Musical Composer
Nenad Bach

Production Designer
Beth Kuhn
Mary Vernieu
Felicia Fasano
Paul Bacca (recordist)
Bill Montei (designer)
Dona Mandel
Make Up
Carol Brown
Luke Geissbuhler

Country of Origin:
Color or b/w:
Production Co(s).:
Black Sand Pictures
Released By:
Black Sand Pictures
MPAA Rating:
Parental Rating:
Cautionary; some scenes objectionable

Erik Palladino
Drew Pettite
Michael Jai White
Daphne Rubin-Vega
Ajay Naidu
Catherine Kellner
Mara Seaver
Marisa Ryan
Tom Guiry
The Red Anarchist
David Patrick Kelly
Joelle Carter
Michael Ealy
Leo Fitzpatrick
The Egg Machine
Larry Pine
The Legend
Helena Lewis
Alan Cox
Palm Sunday
Dan Cantor
Terrence the Ugly American
Tim Kang
Bodega Owner
Gloria Irizarry
Firdous Bamji
Samir Khan
Monique Guesnon
Day-Old Bagel Lady
Scott Miller
Cigarette Man
Waleed Zuaiter
Pretzel Vendor
Shoshannah Stern
First Patron
Jimmy Wallick
Second Patron
Evan Lee Oppenheimer
He Got Next
Dan Ziemann
Emory Van Cleve
Big Guy



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