Year Released: 2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 87 minutes
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The majority of movies made today are geared towards the 18-25 year old age bracket. Apparently, they go out the most, spend the most money on movies, and are the hippest amongst us. But, even in this crowd, few would likely understand the reference of the title, “Garmento”. A garmento is essentially the grim reaper of the fashion industry- a slimy haggling businessman more interested in money than style and design. My point here? That though they’ve come up with a clever title, the filmmakers are not doing themselves a favor with it. For a movie featuring marketing of products so prominently, they might have chosen a title less obscure and more likely to attract attention.
Nevertheless, “Garmento” starts off as a charming dark comedy on the New York fashion industry. We follow Grindy Malone (Katie MacNichol), a young would-be fashion executive, as she gets her big break working for her favorite designer, Poncho Ramirez (Juan Carlos Hernandez). Soon, Grindy gains recognition within the company and starts moving up through the soulless world of A- lists, industry stereotypes, and fashion extravagance. What is done wonderfully here is that “Garmento” creates a definite feel in never taking anything, even itself, too seriously. The characters and their tribulations, though exaggerated, present an image of a business that above all others prides itself on exaggerated and ostentatious overtures. Anything subtler would miss the point, and director Michele Maher knows this like only an insider could.
All of the actors in this film perform their parts extremely well. In fact, these characters and their performances are this movie’s greatest asset with Saundra Santiago and Jerry Grayson stealing the show in their supporting roles. This though is part of the problem- the movie never chooses one character as its focus. The story starts off as Grindy’s, but then she is pushed to the periphery. And when the plot should be advancing, it diffuses and breaks down. It’s almost as if the filmmakers had plenty of time and money to prepare for the first half of the movie then were rushed to complete the second. Of course, they could have shot in reverse order or more likely in no particular linear sequence. Still, the fact remains that the latter half of “Garmento” does not fulfill the promise of the first.
Despite an excellent start, great characters, and a perfect niche mood, “Garmento” never fully capitalizes on its potential.
Posted on May 7, 2003 in Reviews by Sam Frazier, Jr.
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