On Broadway
R2 - United Kingdom - Simply Media
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (7th January 2016).
The Film

Jack O’Toole (Joey McIntyre) is devastated when his Uncle Peter (Andrew Connolly) is killed when he falls of the roof of the building he is repairing. During the subsequent wake of Uncle Pete Jack watches the family and friends in the rituals of the wake and listens to the stories about his Uncle and notices how the stories affect those gathered in different ways. Later on that same night Jack decides he wants to write a play about the events of the wake. The first stumbling block is that Jack is a carpenter and not a playwright. Jack’s Father dissuades him from chasing this dream but Jack’s Wife, Kate (Jill Flint) sees that it means so much to Jack and encourages him. Ten months later and the play is completed. Jack arranges for a read through with his family and friends, but is snubbed by his Father who does not turn up for the reading. After the reading Kate tells Jack that she was glad he followed his dream and wrote the play. Pete’s Son, Billy (Lance Greene), is of two minds however. He realises that Jack felt he had to write the play but the subject matter, despite the names being changed, is still about his Father. For Jack though, writing the play was not enough. He now decides he wants to actually stage the play and have it performed to a paying audience. Kate has immediate misgivings. Because Jack wants to quit his job for three months whilst he tries to produce the play she is afraid they will not be able to pay the mortgage and will lose their home. Jack convinces Kate to let him give it a shot and she agrees. Jack takes a job working evenings in his local bar. Whilst there he meets Lena (Eliza Dushku) who is an actress. She overhears him talking about his play and offers to help him find a cast and theatre space in exchange for a part in the play, to which Jack agrees. Jack tries to hire theatre space but finds the costs well out of his budget. In the mean time Jack starts to audition people for his play. One of the actors he hires notices that the pub in which Jack works has a large room and a stage meant for bands. Jack then realises that he could the play on there at very little cost. Jack now has a venue. Tensions, meanwhile, are running high between Jack and Kate. They have very little time together because of the demands of the play and Jack working evenings at the bar and Kate has been enlisted to design the set and is struggling with the task. As the date of the opening night approaches things are not going smoothly. Rehearsals are constantly interrupted, there are tensions between the actors, ticket sales are extremely low, and on the day before the play is due to open the leading man absconds with a better offer for a role in a film. As Jack prepares to cancel the project a series of events turn the tide for the better.

Just like the fictional play the film features this is a small, intimate movie. Whilst the quality of the acting in the film wavers between decent to barely adequate ‘On Broadway’ has it’s heart in the right place and this helps it make up for any deficiencies with the performances. The script is reasonable, but with it’s fair share of clichés and coincidences, but these are easily overlooked. The direction is extremely intimate too and often a little on the tight side but adequately done and never intrusive. ‘On Broadway’ makes the most of it’s double themes. The main theme that runs throughout the film is that life is always about taking chances and trying new things. At times this theme is pushed a little too far as it seems to almost run through every character on screen. The second theme is that of taking joy out of the small things in life and this one is more subtly handled. Despite the film being on the schmaltzy side it has a nice feel of family and comradeship to it and ultimately is a pretty well made ‘feel good’ film. As we are in the season of flu and colds you could do a lot worse than put this movie on should you find yourself with one of those illness. It won’t cure you but it might just put a smile on your face, and a tear in your eye, for ninety minutes or so.

Video

The film is presented in a 4:3 ratio (16:9 pillarboxed). I have no idea if this is the original ratio but everything looks in proportion on the disc. As mentioned things do get a little tight in the frame from time to time so it would not surprise me to discover if the film was cropped on the sides at sometime. The colours on the disc are fairly muted and the overall picture is on the soft side. As this is a human drama story neither of these two factors are of any real issue and do not detract from the overall feel of the film to any great extent.

Audio

The only option is the English 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack. I found this soundtrack a little busy with music and dialogue often pitched at the same volume hence I missed some parts of the spoke word sections of the film. The mix is quite quiet too and consequently had to push my amplifiers volume up a few extra notches more than I usually do. No subtitles are included.

Extras

None.

Overall

The film may be riddled with clichés and the occasional homily but its heart lies in the right place. It’s a feel good film and only someone with a heart of stone won’t watch the entire feature and not have a warm, fuzzy feeling afterwards and sometimes, just sometimes, that’s all we want from a movie and ‘On Broadway’ delivers in this respect.

The Film: B Video: C+ Audio: C Extras: F Overall: C

 


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