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'Me, You and Five Bucks': A rom-com that's missing the com

'Me, You and Five Bucks': A rom-com that's missing the com
Charlie (Jaime Zevallos) and Pam (Angela Sarafyan) in "Me, You and Five Bucks." (Indican Pictures)

A painful breakup inspires a New York waiter to write a self-help book that gets sold to a big publisher in "Me, You and Five Bucks," a dull, meandering romantic comedy with serious believability issues.

When sullen girlfriend Pam (Angela Sarafyan) abruptly leaves him without explanation, Carlos "Charlie" Castillo (the low-budget production's director and writer, Jaime Zevallos), makes good on his writing aspirations with an advice book called "The 7 Steps of Healing the Male Broken Heart."

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You'd think he'd be thrilled about getting a deal, given the odds, but any celebrating is put on hold when Pam pops back into the picture at a time, when, according to the womanizing Charlie, "life had become meaningless and repetitive."

The same could be said about Zevallos' film, which, plot and character credibility aside, is under-plotted and insufficiently funny. (Apparently all you need to be a bankable relationship expert in the Big Apple is to be a spurned waiter who beds a book editor, here played by Emerald Robinson.)

Although the racially diverse cast is a nice touch, it would have been even nicer if the characters, particularly the few females, weren't such obvious stereotypes along the lines of heartbreaker, sex  kitten and gold-digger. But maybe that's asking too much for "Five Bucks."

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"Me, You and Five Bucks"

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood

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