The new romantic comedy “The Broken Hearts Gallery” doesn’t break any new ground in the genre, but what it lacks in originality it more than makes up for in charm.
Anchored by an endearing performance from Geraldine Viswanathan, this film keeps the audience smiling with its quirky appeal.
Viswanathan plays Lucy, a mid-20s art gallery assistant in New York City whose life is turned upside down when she is dumped by her boyfriend Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar).
On the ride home, Lucy mistakes Nick (Dacre Montgomery) for her Lyft driver and the two strike up a friendship. Lucy learns Nick has dreams of his own, with Nick working on refurbishing a building to convert into a hotel for several years now.
Lucy decides to help Nick at his hotel site, leaving behind one of her mementos from her previous relationship. The next day, someone else has left a memento from their own failed relationship at the same spot, inspiring Lucy to create the Broken Hearts Gallery. As word of the gallery spreads, Lucy’s fortunes start to turn around – giving her the fresh start she didn’t realize was possible.
“Broken Hearts Gallery” is the first feature film for writer/director Natalie Krinsky, whose previous work included serving as a writer on “Gossip Girl.” Krinsky brings the same kind of rapid-fire dialogue to the film, with Viswanathan’s Lucy as witty as she is charming. Viswanathan was the highlight of “Blockers” and held her own with Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney in “Bad Education” earlier this year, but this further cements her ascending stardom as she settles into the romantic lead flawlessly.
It helps to have a leading man to work with where there is some natural chemistry, and that is the case as Montgomery gives off a lot of Zac Efron vibes here. It’s easy to believe these two could strike up a potential relationship because they are so good together, a pairing that offsets a lot of the screenplay’s predictable moments.
While Viswanathan and Montgomery are the anchors, there is a lot bubbling under the surface. Molly Gordon from “Booksmart” and “Good Boys” steals every scene she is in as one of Lucy’s roommates, and any film that finds time for Bernadette Peters – playing Lucy’s boss – gets bonus points from me.
Sure, you will see every plot thread in “Broken Hearts Gallery” coming a mile away, but this cast – particularly Viswanathan and Montgomery – has such a quirky charm it’s easy to just settle in and enjoy the ride.