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Review: 'The Broken Hearts Gallery' is a funny, formulaic romantic comedy

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Dacre Montgomery and Geraldine Viswanathan star in TriStar Pictures' THE BROKEN HEARTS GALLERY.{ } (Photo: Sony)

The Broken Hearts Gallery
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Natalie Krinsky
Writer: Natalie Krinsky
Starring: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rated: PG-13 for sexual content throughout and some crude references, strong language and drug references

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Synopsis: With each break up, Lucy adds to her collection of items connected to failed relationships.

Review: A few weeks ago, I sat down to watch a sequel to a popular romantic comedy. I knew that I wasn’t the target demographic; I went in with the best intentions. I didn’t make it twenty minutes into the film before I had to turn it off and walk away.

I was worried that “The Broken Hearts Gallery” was going to be a similar experience. All I knew about it was that Selena Gomez was credited as an executive producer. I like Gomez, she was kind and thoughtful when I interviewed her a few years ago. That doesn’t mean we share the same taste when it comes to rom coms.

Thankfully, “The Broken Hearts Gallery” was not a film I had to force myself to finish. Geraldine Viswanathan stars as Lucy, a young woman who can’t let the trinkets collected from past relationships go. She knows there was happiness in the past; she’s less certain about the future. The reason for her cynicism is revealed later in the film when Lucy introduces love interest Nick (“Stranger Things” alum Dacre Montgomery) to her mother. It’s the film’s best scene.

“The Broken Hearts Gallery” is built on familiar tropes of the romantic comedy genre. Lucy is torn between her attraction to two men who are fundamentally opposites. It’s perfectly clear who the narrative wants her to end up with, but the story requires a bit of misdirection to keep make the inevitable feel less probable. Had director/writer Natalie Krinsky strayed away from cliché in the final act, she’d likely have a stronger movie. A stronger movie that rom-com audiences might reject. So, Krinsky gives audiences what they expect, rather than playing with the formula.

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It’s all a fantasy anyway. There are real-world lessons to be learned, but the economics of the film are laughable. Struggling never looked more luxurious. I do admire Nick’s ambition to essentially transform a building into art-chic hotel on his own. Maybe I’m just not ambitious enough. I should daydream bigger.

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“The Broken Hearts Gallery” is sugary (with a little spice to push the PG-13 rating to its limit), but it has something to say about self-appreciation and mental health that need to be heard. If you’re a fan of the genre, you won’t be disappointed.