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Movie review: 'L.A. Superheroes' is well-meaning but weak

Movie review: 'L.A. Superheroes' is well-meaning but weak
In this still from "L.A. Superheroes," Angie (played by Catherine Carlen) answers the door, full of guilt. (Alexandros Potter)

"L.A. Superheroes" was an obvious labor of love for Serbian-born actress-model Yelena Popovic, who stars, co-directed (with husband-cinematographer Alexandros Potter), wrote the shaggy script (with co-star Alexander Zisiades) and was a producer on this occasionally insightful and amusing Tinseltown tale apparently inspired by her own life. Sadly, she should have kept a "story by" credit and handed the creative reins over to more competent folks.

Hard-luck, often clueless Helena (Popovic), thwarted in her career as a model and actress in L.A. due to her undocumented immigrant status, deadbeat manager (Catherine Carlen) and, one suspects, limited acting chops, buys a forged birth certificate from oily crook Joey (Vince Palmieri) so she can obtain a passport to work abroad. The FBI busts her but offers a deal if she'll reveal her "supplier." Stuck, Helena names names, but spends the rest of the film mainly in the company of her obnoxious musician-pizza delivery guy buddy, Auto (Zisiades), waiting to get "whacked" by would-be thug Joey.

Unfortunately, the movie is more of a random yakfest between Helena and Auto than the zippy comic thriller it may have intended. It's also padded with too many extraneous bits given its brief running time (end-credit outtakes? Really?).

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Spotty acting, flashes of crass dialogue, some questionable camera work and awkward storytelling — including a surfeit of phone conversations — further sink this well-meaning effort.

— Gary Goldstein

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"L.A. Superheroes"

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 18 minutes.

Playing: At Laemmle's NoHo 7, North Hollywood; AMC's Burbank Town Center 8.

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