Old Stuff

Garmento (2003)

Directed by Michele Maher

Set in New York's Garment District, "Garmento" is writer/director Wendy Mahler's first feature length film. It's the result of the time Mahler spent working in the fashion industry and seeing its seamy side (their pun, not mine). The format is one we've all seen before: a wide-eyed innocent girl/boy gains entrée into the glamorous world of whatever and we see what happens behind the scenes. Mahler created Grindy Malone as the main character. She's the wide-eyed, white, suburban girl who gets her first fashion job as the assistant to the president of the designer house whose jeans she wore as a kid. Predictably, she's overcome with excitement and can't believe her luck. That starts to wear off on her first day when she gets a fat lip after her busy boss knocks her down in his office travels and she has to blow her salary on expensive clothes so she can look the part.


So far, so good. The problem is that once Mahler introduces her characters, she neglects any significant development, leaving a collection of colorful, but two-dimensional people that go nowhere. To her credit, Mahler created a thorough plot, but seems to have gotten bogged down in covering all the events and details and consequently fails to tell much of a story. A tale like this offers many angles of approach and it seems as if Mahler has chosen almost all of them. I had trouble trying to figure out what this film ultimately was. A comedy? A drama? An expose? The self-important characters are ripe for ribbing and ridicule and there are many funny moments, but there are too many left turns into drama that leave the film in conflict with itself. You can make a movie on a cut-rate budget, but you need a designer-quality story. -- Rating: $4.00

Mike Santoro -- copyright 2003 Hollywood Outsider

Old Stuff