Using homelessness as a background for a flighty comedy about the rise and fall of artists grappling with fame is a profoundly tacky and misguided endeavor. And yet, “An L.A. Minute” persists.
Written by Larry “Ratso” Sloman and Daniel Adams, directed by Adams, “An L.A. Minute” is a truly embarrassing outing for stars Gabriel Byrne and Kiersey Clemons (who also serves as a producer). It’s not that it’s tone deaf, because it seems the filmmakers knew what they were up to, and just didn’t care.
Byrne stars as Ted Gould, a wealthy superstar author who has penned a tawdry crime novel about a homeless serial killer. While donating money to some panhandlers one night, he loses a precious memento, an ankh from his commune days. Trying to find it, he returns to the encampment and gets himself mugged at gunpoint. Penniless and shoeless, he’s rescued by a vagrant Manic Pixie Dream Girl performance artist, Velocity (Clemons), who becomes his new muse for a night and a day. Velocity’s star rises when she hitches her wagon to Ted’s publicity train, living her best Cinderella/“Pretty Woman” life, but Ted’s takes a nose dive.
The salt in the wound of this painfully out-of-touch film is the footage of real L.A. homeless camps and people, as if the film were saying something trenchant about the issue. What a gross misunderstanding of this glib story about a rich man who steals stories and inspiration from struggling people.
‘An L.A. Minute’
Rated: R, for sexual content and language
Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Playing: AMC Sunset 5, West Hollywood; AMC Burbank Town Center 8