"You have a story." This line from the film ...Around, based on the life of writer-producer-director David Spalto, summarizes the life of a filmmaker as a young artist, homeless man, and struggling New York City resident.

Doyle Simms (Rob Evans) leaves his good buddy Logic (Marcel Torres) and unsupportive family in Jersey City to become a filmmaker in New York City. However, the NYC of ...Around is both wonderful and depressing, a place where opportunity and failure go hand in hand. Doyle makes it into film school -- while living on the streets.

Simms strikes up a friendship with philosophical homeless man Saul (Ron Brice) and tries to start a romantic relationship with Allyson (Molly Ryman), a fellow struggling artist. Over the space of four years Doyle survives on the streets, gets an apartment, returns home to NJ a few times (and regrets it each time), survives on numerous credit cards, works several unfulfilling jobs, and even sometimes thinks about his film.

...Around is the debut film from David Spalto, and it contains both promise and rough edges. The movie is a homage to New York City, yet it shows how rough the city can be on people. But there is some awkward dialogue, cliches pop up frequently (such as a character actually miming removing a person's emotional "mask"), and protagonist Simms spends 90% of the movie as the cool dude with a clever and sardonic line for everything (much like Jim in the tv show The Office). There is some genuine honesty that shines through near the end, but there are also scenes that feel artificial. ...Around is a decent movie, less idealized and less polished than many takes on Manhattan -- and on the aspiring artist.

Overall grade: C

Reviewed by James Lynch

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