Year Released: 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 102 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:
Those fortunate to check out “Prince of Broadway” will meet Lucky, an illegal immigrant from Ghana, currently living in New York as a street hustler who lures would-be-customers looking for a deal to the backroom of a small clothing store where he peddles fake Louis. We’re instantly drawn to this character who, yes is a little shady selling knock-off merchandise, but is on top of his game and is easily admired for his incredible charisma. Along with his hustling skills, we’re shown that Lucky is a good boyfriend and is planning to go to school with money he’s been putting aside. Street hustling can be tough, but Lucky has everything more or less handled…that is until an old girlfriend shows up unannounced and drops a year and a half old kid in his arms, claiming that he’s the father.
Linda, the young mother, just asks – actually, more like demands – that he takes care of the kid for two weeks while she takes care of some business. Two weeks turn to two more and then more. Lucky finds his chaotic, but under control, world spinning out of hand with the simple addition of a baby who takes to smearing his own poop on the wall.
There’s also a side story here that involves Levon, the legal Armenian-Lebanese immigrant owner of the clothing store that Lucky runs his operation out of. The side story involves his own tumultuous homelife due to the steady collapse of his marriage that granted him his green card. True, Levon is fortunate enough to be a legal citizen, but he also loves his wife and wishes the marriage to live-on, a sentiment not returned by his much younger, club-hopping wife.
Together, both Lucky and Levon could definitely affect their best Yakov Smirnoff and cry – WHAT A COUNTRY!
First and foremost, you’re struck by the tremendously natural and magnetic performance from newcomer Prince Adu as Lucky. You watch him and you feel that you’re beholding something very genuine and you’re instantly immersed into this world of street hustling. Actor Karren Karagulian as Levon also supplies a surprisingly likeable performance. I think normally this character would be a sort of unsavory type person, but instead Karagulian and filmmaker Sean Baker have created an entirely warm and engaging character.
And, yes, little Aiden Noesi as Lucky’s surprise son is absolutely adorable. And what’s great about this film is that it never stoops to sappy “just the two of us” dad and son playdates in the park as they both warm up to each other. This isn’t a John Hughes movie. For the most part, Lucky remains pretty frustrated about the situation. Affection does grow between the two, but it’s very subtle and you don’t feel like you’re being whalloped over the head with engineered sentimentalism. It all feels natural and is completely engrossing.
“Prince of Broadway” is perhaps the shiniest indie gem I’ve found this year so far.
Editorial Note: Originally reviewed on June 25, 2008.
Posted on September 3, 2010 in Reviews by Eric Campos
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- PRINCE AVALANCHE
- THE REIGNING “PRINCE OF BROADWAY”: INTERVIEW WITH FILMMAKER SEAN BAKER
- “CORNBREAD AND COYOTE” AT LAPDANCE
- JUST LIKE THE SON
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