3rd-Street-Blackout

Vulgar rom-coms full of quirky twenty/thirty-somethings and timely pop culture references are nothing new. Some of them are bad, some of them are good. Then there is 3rd Street Blackout, a movie that is as confusing to itself as it is to an audience that, much like the characters in the film, are left waiting for the light to come back on.

The movie deals with the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy, which leaves parts of New York City completely without power. Eccentric couple Mina and Rudy (Negin Farsad and Jeremy Redleaf) have to deal with the realities of existence in a world obsessed with personal technology, and how to work things out when said technology is abruptly taken away.

It is easy to bash movies that don’t measure up. That’s the problem with 3rd Street Blackout. As previously stated, it’s not a bad movie. It’s just not a very good one. Writers/directors/stars Farsad and Redleaf clearly had the right intentions behind the concept, but for whatever reason their execution is severely lacking. Attempted shades of Woody Allen, inadvertent throw backs to Reality Bites (especially the on-point soundtrack) and joke “borrowing” from How I Met Your Mother combine to make a perfect storm of unmemorable, almost vignettes.

That may be the only ironic part of this effort at Millennial attitudes — the fact that Hurricane Sandy was almost as big a mess as the script. It also has to be said that misleading cast announcements especially hinder the film (how Jeanne Garafolo got top billing when she barely warrants a cameo is kind of hard to figure out). Perhaps it’s a West Coast thing, and to New York natives the stereotypically annoying characters will ring true, but it seems doubtful as hopefully the people featured in this movie don’t actually exist anywhere.

If there is a silver lining to this cinematic cloud it would be the fact that the players seem to be genuinely trying. The fact that this project was a labor of love is obvious from the get go, and the enthusiasm of all involved is infectious as the lyrics of a one-hit wonder. It is almost enough to get us to believe that the story is worth-while, just not quite… There is a lot of talent here, but the way the material is presented, it is left to stare at while it withers on the vine.

Quite a bit of New York cinema has a playhouse feel to it. Perhaps this project would be better suited for that. It might be a way to engage the audience better. Who knows? At the end of the day, as a movie 3rd Street Blackout is perfect fodder to pad the Netflix title count, and not much else. Watching this film is preferable to picking a documentary at random while browsing fro sure, though maybe the viewer should just hope for a power outage instead.