Do you have artifacts from failed relationships? If so, they could find a place in “The Broken Hearts Gallery.”
There, the lovesick can purge their pain and move on.
Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan), a hoarder of heartbreak, hits on the concept when a gallery owner (Bernadette Peters) provides the nudge she needs to create her own art. Since she has a problem getting rid of totems from old boyfriends, she uses them to tell a bigger story.
By the time writer/director Natalie Krinsky gets around to the actual show she has gone through a lot of talk about hookups and past lives, plenty of bonding with girlfriends and a “meet cute” with the guy who’s creating a boutique hotel.
If this had a holiday theme, you might confuse it with a Lifetime Christmas movie.
Luckily, Viswanathan is an ideal guide through the gallery of Lucy’s life. She experiences a rainbow of emotions with and without boyfriends, has a quirky CW-like sense of style and isn’t afraid to put her foot in her mouth.
When worlds collide, she digs deeper and finds the strength to pick up and move on.
Krinsky uses one-liners like punctuation, tossing them in like a freshman composition student.
She relies heavily on Viswanathan to get her out of plot twists that don’t quite go anywhere.
When Lucy meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery), she begins to shed the artifice of a rehearsed life.
He’s working on turning a YMCA into a hotel and willing to listen to her rants. Naturally, the two find common ground and hint at where this can head.
Krinsky avoids going there too quickly and, like a therapist, helps Lucy work through her hang-ups.
Often, “Broken Hearts Gallery” is guilty of too much. Its characters talk too much. Its cleverness is too twee. Its actors try too hard.
It perks up largely when Viswanathan is left to her own devices. She’s a highly talented actress (she scored in “Bad Education,” too) and should be given more complex roles to really test her talents.
“The Broken Hearts Gallery” is a great introduction. But it’s often like the gift shop in a museum. It’s a preview of what’s inside, not the main attraction.