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Review: Karan Kendrick stands out in conference-call drama ‘Broken Ceiling’

Karan Kendrick in the movie "Broken Ceiling."
(Indie Rights)

Conference calls can feel like an interminable hell, and writer/director Adam Davis makes that the reality of his one-room melodrama “Broken Ceiling.” Under the maudlin fluorescent lights, big business personalities tussle for power during a meeting about an electronic product placement deal, resulting in tragedy and triumph.

Only four characters enter the room: explosive boss Ken (Regen Wilson), right hand man Tyler (Rane Jameson), Ken’s assistant Angela (Karan Kendrick) and upstart Garrett (Torran Kitts). Using a system of fear, verbal abuse and well-timed conference call holds, Ken has brow-beaten his team into full submission for a call with a tech magnate and possible investor. That they’re brokering a deal for cellphones in an action movie makes the scenario that much more ridiculous juxtaposed with the Mametian monologues the salespeople deliver as their dynamic unravels, leaving their investor on longer and longer holds.

It’s a tale of a power struggle, but eventually Angela grabs the mantle, wrestling control of the story, and truly, it should have been hers from the start. The film feels like it doesn’t hit its stride until two-thirds of the way through, when Davis unleashes Kendrick. It’s a clever premise, and there are some great performances, including Kendrick’s, but a few story elements are fumbled to the film’s detriment.

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‘Broken Ceiling’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood

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