by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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Falling Up is a comedy that chronicles the ups and downs of Henry O’Shea, a young man whose father just died, and he, his sister and mother have to go out and find work, in order to keep the household afloat.
Henry, played by Joseph Cross, is a nursing student, but he abandons his dreams temporarily and goes to work at a fancy Fifth Avenue apartment building in New York, where he finds a mixed bag of employees and tenants. Joe Pantoliano plays his boss, George, who has a strict rule about fraternizing with the tenants; Snoop Dogg plays Raul, his co-worker. Raul’s main job is trying to see just how much work he can get away with doing on the night shift. But he’s always helpful in showing Henry the ins and outs of the doormen business.
Scarlett Downing is the object of Henry’s affections, but he’s been forbidden to communicate with her, because she’s a rich tenant. But the two forge a friendship anyway, after Henry saves not only a tenant’s dog with mouth to mouth but Scarlett’s boyfriend who overdoses on cocaine at Scarlett’s 21st birthday party. Scarlett, played by Sarah Roemer, is more endeared to Henry, and she wants to take him out to celebrate. She seems to be a bit embarrassed because it’s turning out that her high-society boyfriend is a lush and a loser. The two go out on a date, and Scarlett’s mom finds out. The mother talks to George and gets Henry fired.
Henry is determined to not let this bug him, but his sister, who walks dogs for a living, intervenes on his behalf. The three of them end up at his mother’s place of business, a porn shop to hash it all out. Scarlett is upset with her mother for getting Henry fired and she begs George to let him come back to work. But George doesn’t relent, even though he’s been given a second chance at life; it’s discovered that a small bandage that he wears on his left cheek is covering up a tattoo.
Once Henry decides that Scarlett is the one for him, no matter what his social status, he goes all out to win her back and teach her mother, played by Mimi Rogers, a thing or two.
In a world where rich snobs never mix with minimum wage slobs, can a romance between a regular guy from Flatbush and a Fifth Avenue rich girl even make it past the front door? This is a great comedy about working hard, dreaming big and knowing when to let the right one in.
Falling Up was directed and co-written by David M. Rosenthal and was produced by Joseph Matthew Smith, who co-wrote the script. Mark Mothersbaugh, co-founder of the seminal 1980s new wave band Devo, wrote the original music.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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