From writing episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” to “Gossip Girl,” Natalie Krinsky makes her directorial debut with this generation’s Bridget Jones, another generation’s “Pride & Prejudice.”
Geraldine Viswanathan (“Bad Education,” “Blockers”) must carry and sell the entire film based on her likeability, and how funny you find her. You either find her dumb wit and prat falls ultimately endearing, or you look to supporting characters like “Stranger Things’” Dacre Montgomery, or maybe even Broadway sensation Bernadette Peters, for distractions.
Krinsky’s writing is an amalgamation of every romantic comedy before it. The ultimate theme, “Pain is inevitable, it’s what you do with it that matters,” takes a little too long to gestate, while we endure 90 minutes or our lead character’s buffoonery before she finally shows signs of wisdom.
Among her best friends Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo), Lucy (Viswanathan) was always the one who fell in love the easiest. She would immediately begin collecting things from each guy she dates, resulting in hoarding behavior and eventually surrounding herself with reminders of failed relationships.
With a promising job at a leading New York art gallery, the dissolvement of her current fling with gallery liaison Max Vora (Utkarsh Ambudkar) is her undoing. With no job and no boyfriend, Lucy is inspired to create a new kind of gallery, not with precious art work, but items from past relationships, offered up by those finally ready to move on.
She befriends another broken-hearted soul, Nick (Montgomery) who offers her gallery space in his up-and-coming boutique hotel. Their partnership fuels creativity, catharsis and maybe even a few sparks along the way.
Like Bridget Jones, Lucy isn’t presented as the intelligent heroine, she is deeply flawed and rarely makes the right decision without encouragement from her friends. In an early scene, she exhibits moronic, drunken behavior, and then cannot believe she is fired for it. Depending on your sense of humor, Krinsky’s script produces more eye rolls than laughs.
It lands somewhere between “Booksmart” and “I Feel Pretty,” neither of which warrant repeat viewings. The chemistry between Viswanathan and Montgomery is easily the selling point, while “The Broken Hearts Gallery” pushes the concept of the actual gallery, that becomes an afterthought as romance takes center stage.
“The Broken Hearts Gallery” is intended for a specific audience, the snap-chatters, Selena Gomez (executive producer) followers, influencer type crowd, who can check their phones every few minutes and really never miss anything important.
A scene where Lucy introduces Nick to her mother suffering from Alzheimer’s mirrors the first episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” (written by Krinsky) where that character sits with her once brilliant mother.
This is a lighthearted film that rarely takes anything seriously and teeters between realistic situations and total fantasy. By its pop-music conclusion (an art exhibit suddenly turns into a night club), it wears you down, despite being nothing truly memorable here, it’s young-adult escapism.
Final Thought: The chemistry between Viswanathan and Montgomery is the selling point for a film that isn’t as witty or creative as it thinks it is.