'Club Life': Film Review

Courtesy of Orchard
Not exactly worth standing in line for

Jerry Ferrara of "Entourage" plays a young man hired to attract gorgeous models to a NYC nightclub in Fabrizio Conte's debut feature

Jerry Ferrara plays the lead role of Turtle, excuse me, Johnny, in Fabrizio Conte's formulaic drama about a young man on the make in NYC's club scene circa 2008. Co-scripted by Danny A. Abeckaser (who also plays a supporting role) and loosely based on his own experiences, Club Life demonstrates that not everyone has a compelling story to tell. Being given a limited theatrical release just in time to capitalize on next week's Entourage film, this low-budget effort might attract some viewers on VOD.

Jerry, who works as a self-employed limo driver, finds his life turned upside down when his father suffers a stroke and winds up in the hospital in a coma and hooked up to a ventilator. Since his father lacked health insurance, Jerry is forced to pay the mounting medical bills out of his own pocket.

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Salvation arrives in the form of nightclub promoter Mark (Abeckaser), who for some reason thinks that the unassuming, not exactly drop-dead handsome Johnny is the perfect person to bring in the sort of sexy women that would attract high-roller Wall Street types. And it turns out that Jerry, who has an affable charm, is indeed very good at his new assignment, even managing to attract the romantic interest of a gorgeous model. That is, until his sleazy scheme to ply her with alcohol while he only pretends to imbibe is promptly exposed.

Keeping his new vocation under wraps, Jerry finds himself in conflict with his mother (Tovah Feldshuh), sister and girlfriend (Jessica Szohr) who wonder why he isn't paying more attention to his family during their time of crisis.

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The skimpy plotline doesn't pay many dividends, relying mostly on conveying the dissolute atmosphere of its milieu for effect. Ferrara, although effective in smaller roles, doesn't have the leading man gravitas to anchor the proceedings, and his anguished monologue delivered to the unconscious father mainly smacks of an acting school exercise. The supporting players, including Jay R. Ferguson (Stan on Mad Men) are more effective, although reliable B-movie veteran Robert Davi is stuck with the thankless role of a gangster club owner who, in Joe Pesci style, instantly transforms from friendly to menacing.

Lacking the dramatic substance that would make us care about its central character, Club Life lives up to its setting in that it's quickly forgotten by the next day.

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Production: 2B Films in association with Radar Pictures
Cast: Jerry Ferrara, Danny A. Abeckaser, Robert Davi, Tovah Feldshuh, Jessica Szohr, Jay R. Ferguson
Director: Fabrizio Conte
Screenwriters: Danny A. Abeckaser, Ryan O'Nan, Ryan Vallan
Producers: Danny A. Abeckaser, Per Melita
Executive producer: Ryan O'Nan
Director of photography: Daniele Napolitano
Production designer: Kim Fischer
Editor: Danny Rafic
Costume designer: Nicky Tobolski
Composer: Gilad Benamram
Casting: Sig De Miguel, Stephen Vincent

Not rated, 86 minutes