If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere – New York City. Living there does not necessarily satisfy the chorus, and writer/director Lindley Farley proves the point in The Fez Belcher Show. With an onslaught of characters who descended on the city’s shores and fell in love with the romance of survival, they have aged, and there’s nothing sexy about it. In short, they forgot to give up, grow up and leave. As such, their residue is sliced and diced in a 2 hour comedy that may not have you laugh once. But there’s a general amusement and irony that will carry the story and shine a light on any New Yorker who has put in their passion in hopes of leaving their mark.

Fez (Gregory Adair) is first among the cavalcade, and it doesn’t take long to let us know the 80s punk rocker is past his prime. His cramped apartment sets the first tone and goes into overdrive when the 57 year old makes a shirtless trek to the refrigerator.

Fortunately, Adair’s shameless posture and strut reveals a level of denial that gives his character the strength to proceed. There’s a similar sentiment found in Adair’s delivery and demeanor. Youthful and optimistic with a dose of naiveté, he leaves us hoping that his character never sees the actual world he lives in.

His one time success helps in that regard. Blizzards of Pain was his big album hit for The Honest Aids, and clinging to the previous century, Fez believes a return to the self-described top is always around the corner.

Of course, the East Village wouldn’t let him down. The neighborhood cinematography by Patrick Linberg almost makes him and the characters feel like an extension of the living rock, and the endearing architecture would never cut off its nose to spite its face.

More denial, Fez and friends should be so lucky. He is still scrambling to make a living and so are all the others who are NYC scamming in one way or another.

His agent/manager seems a voice of reason, though. But Bobbi Owens does more of a balancing act as Janie. Presenting a definite professionalism, the actress makes sure the harried hustle of her existence remains ever present.

How could it not? She’s entrenched among all the village idiots/artists in her rolodex. So how serious and sustainable could Janie’s choices be?

Fez’s younger girlfriend is next, and the delusions of grandeur continue. In another band, she thinks her tambourine playing has merit and is ready to take her to the next level. Eying a co-writing spot with The Honest Aids, Ana (Lisa Bianco) reveals an empty shell that can’t see she’s on the same aimless path as everyone else.

Two of those for Pablo (Michael Calderon), he takes the cake. A private investigator by day and ventriloquist at night, the poor guy thinks he’s hit the jackpot for scoring a sublet on Fez’s couch. An over the top hanger-on, Calderon’s obliviousness makes the character pure NYC lore.

In addition, Calderon gives us amusement by masterfully playing the typical first generation immigrant. This leaves his character a step behind the action, because assimilation is always going to be elusive.

Grant, on the other hand, knows the drill as a go-getting businessman of questionable intent. A hustle that looks the part, he isn’t fooling anyone but himself.

The exposition comes through perfectly when Christopher Lee exudes cognitive dissonance in explaining why he doesn’t have an office, “I always say why waste the overhead when there’s only 45 bad weather days a year.”

As such, Fez is his current scam – even if doing a follow-up to Blizzards of Pain doesn’t sound like a stretch. That is until Grant reveals that he simply wants Fez to re-sing the album exactly as done 30 years ago.

Or just another day when you’re chasing a past that never paved the way for a real future. And the rabbit hole doesn’t stop getting deeper. In fact, the puzzle pieces of characters and situations enter and ping about in a disorientating manner.

So much so that it’s not certain whether the scenes further the plot. They probably do, but either way, the sentiment is exactly in line with the demographic in question. These characters lost a distinct direction long ago, and just like NYC, a revolving door of people has many acquaintances meander off to oblivion.

Still, the actual plot does reemerge and sends Fez in search of the future. Is he going to stay pure and subsist on the margins or sell out like the rest of us grownups? Let’s just say this movie really goes the distance to resolve the age old question and does so with a chortle that won’t disappoint.




If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere – New York City. Living there does not necessarily satisfy the chorus, and writer/director

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