Alberto and the Concrete Jungle can be seen as a test. How fun and charming must a movie be in order to overcome obnoxious characters? And if those characters are possibly intentionally annoying how much of a pass can audiences give them? Even if it is on purpose, how irritating can a film be?
Writer and director Chris Shimojima’s fantastically titled movie can be as much chaotic fun as the name implies. Alberto Buenaventura is a highly sought after photojournalist who is able to travel the world thanks to his skills. The fact that he is able to win people over with his charm also helps. A trip to New York City causes Al B to reexamine his life, however.
Alberto and the Concrete Jungle has two outstanding characters in the title character and Marina, a reporter whom he has much in common with. The two have a fabulous chemistry. The moments with Alberto and Marina on screen together are some of the best of the movie. The exchanges they have are laugh out loud funny.
The story itself is also filled with some very energetic moments. There will be many times that the audience will not be able to take their eyes off the screen. Alberto and the Concrete Jungle has an almost thrown together feel that is very charming. Much like the main character, the movie wants to do things on its own terms.
This is also the biggest issue with Alberto and the Concrete Jungle. Things seem too haphazard at times. Sometimes, the movie seems like a series of unrelated sketches. Some of it works, but much of it will have the viewer wondering why it was even included. The near two hour runtime of the film does not help matters.
Though Al B and Marina remain delightful throughout the entire film, the supporting characters begin to wear thin. None of them are unique while all of them will begin to grate on the audience’s nerves. For some, this will ruin an otherwise fine movie.
This brings things back to the initial question. What if all the characters are intentionally trying? Each person introduced in Alberto and the Concrete Jungle may be a way of further validating Al B’s choices in life. That may be the case, but it opens the door for other questions. It also indirectly answers the first query. If your movie is going to be tiresome deliberately, make sure to cover all your bases.
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