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Hollywood

Cheshire Films

Few will be shouting hooray for "Hollywood," an extremely insular, technically awkward low-budget indie about a trio of struggling young actors trying to hit it big in Tinseltown.

Rick Rose, who plays one of them, also serves as writer and director on this vanity project, which is playing for a one-week run at a Los Angeles theater.

Rose's Owen is the most successful of the bunch — he played the lead in a cheesy spy thriller a few years back — but is finding that his lack of formal training is catching up with him.

At the urging of his manager (Tod Purvis), he takes an acting class taught by esteemed diva Violet Boudreaux (Valerie Swift-Bird), where his personal story intersects with those of the energetic Jazzy (producer Katherine Azarmi), an industrious go-getter who's very self-conscious of her Middle Eastern roots, and Abby (Martini Paratore), a real estate agent who moonlights as Violet's long-suffering assistant.

But these self-absorbed dreamers aren't the only ones who are struggling. Wearing his filmmaking cap, Rose also wrestles with a ponderously talky script and pesky sync sound issues that continually steal focus.

While he obviously speaks from considerable experience on the other side of the camera — those uncomfortable audition scenes ring with a particular authenticity — the film as a whole fails to impress save for Azarmi's spirited performance.

Combining an affable comedic spark with a convincing vulnerability, her Jazzy is the only character who manages to stay afloat in a sea of clunky industry town cliches. If nothing else, "Hollywood" gives Azarmi some decent footage for her reel.
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