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Hoping for big break in `Hollywood'

October 27, 2006|Kevin Thomas | Special to The Times

"Hollywood" is an awfully big, bold title for yet another low-low budget take on the oft-told tale of a group of young actors trying to make it in Tinseltown. Although this film suffers from familiar fledgling indie ills such as uneven pacing, a verbose script and an overly theatrical quality, it has humor and a personal feel.

It is best viewed as a good showcase for two of its stars, Rick Rose, who also wrote and directed, and Katherine Azarmi, who co-produced the picture with Rose. They are attractive and have engaging personalities.

Rose's Owen is a tall, easygoing actor whose manager (Tod Purvis) has been unable to "translate indie charm into mainstream success" and insists he take acting lessons. He signs up with the prestigious, imperious Violet Boudreaux (a vivid, shrewd Valerie Swift-Bird), a tough, aging glamour girl, a mixture of pretentiousness and hard-earned wisdom.

Key among Violet's pupils is another newcomer to the class, Jazzy Zadeh (Azarmi), and Abby Gomez (Martini Paratore), who is also Violet's dedicated assistant.

Vivacious and ambitious, Jazzy wants to break through in the worst way but finds her ethnicity -- she is of Iranian descent -- a stumbling block. Worse, she has fallen under the spell of a self-serving, downright destructive "life coach to the stars" (Jay Rondot), who charts her every move.

Abby, meanwhile, is torn between her acting aspirations and supporting herself as a real estate agent -- in addition to working for Violet. (She probably should stick to real estate.) Meanwhile, Owen's kvetching girlfriend (Tava Smiley) is having serious doubts about casting her lot with an aspiring actor -- one who has a tendency to miss important appointments.

This "Hollywood" is indeed slight, yet at times it is amusingly credible, clearly informed by Rose's own experiences over the last eight years.



MPAA rating: Unrated. Mild sexuality, some pot smoking.

A Cheshire Films presentation. Writer-director Rick Rose. Producers Katherine Azarmi, Rose. Director of photography Joseph Loyola. Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.

Exclusively at the Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-3500.

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