Alberto And The Concrete Jungle Image

Alberto And The Concrete Jungle

By Bobby LePire | July 11, 2020

Julie Voshell’s biting, acidic barbs, and one-liners are hysterical, and she and Santoni share excellent chemistry. Whenever it is just these two onscreen talking and being slightly strange, in an endearing way, Alberto And The Concrete Jungle works beautifully.

But there’s a smorgasbord of other characters that these two must contact, and they are all the worst. Rami Morgan, as Oprah, plays the role just fine, but she is the worst. She spouts off platitudes without having any coherent meaning behind them. She talks just to hear herself speak; it’s all so annoying. That highfalutin, socially-minded person that can’t see past their nonsense, despite their best intentions is rife for a proper comedic send-up. The only one to call on her on any of it is Alberto, and even then, it is just because she has wasted their time. It does not help matters that this community she’s built is vaguely defined and not explored enough to make total sense to the audience.

Then there’s this person at the drug den, who they believe knows the street artist. He keeps blowing off meeting them, and gets annoyed when they finally confront him. Again, someone with their head so far up their rear end that they don’t have common decency should be an easy comedic takedown in a movie like this. But there is not enough of this character, whose name I already forgot, present for the joke to take down. It does not help that when he is properly introduced, the actor portraying him sounds like a stoned surfer dude. He’s not believable nor funny in any way. He’s just obnoxious and turns the audience off, as the film is not focused enough to make its wry observations all that witty.


“…Santoni is effortlessly charming and makes the near 2-hour runtime bearable.”

Sadly, the same can be said for just about everyone else here. Alberto’s mom can never take a hint that it is a bad time to call, which should be a great ongoing gag. Instead, it only serves as a distraction from the action on hand. Look at the IMDb page for Alberto and The Concrete Jungle to get a better idea of the slapdash approach to the storytelling. The lead is listed after 20 other people, most of them having such parts as Bar Patron, Drug Addict, or AirBnB Host. That’s right, the title character is credited after a bunch of randos because the filmmaker is not interested in Alberto or a plot; just one silly scenario after another, with the barest of connective tissues to string it all together.

Still, Santoni fares better than Voshell. She’s the 150th actor credited on IMDb. The secondary lead, the essential character aside from Alberto, is listed past a bunch of unnamed (literally) characters. It might seem odd complaining about a film’s IMDb page, but the order that the actors appear in is something that can be controlled. I believe it is indicative of Shimojima’s intentions with this comedy. He did not care in what order his actors and their respective roles showed up. He just wanted to get a scene where someone does this outlandish thing, even if it does not make sense within the rest of the story (the synthetic drug thing can and should be nixed altogether; for just one example). If the filmmaker took such a lackadaisical approach to the narrative, what reason is there for the audience to invest their time and energy on these characters?

Alberto And The Concrete Jungle is amusing fun in bursts, as the ridiculous moments are so out there, they garner laughter. It is anchored by two brilliant lead actors in Santoni and Voshell, who bring charm and energy to their roles. It is too bad that the audience finds the plot hard to swallow and the secondary characters so annoying, as there’s talent buried underneath all the excess.

Alberto And The Concrete Jungle (2020)

Directed and Written: Chris Shimojima

Starring: Alejandro Santoni, Julie Voshell, Rami Morgan, etc.

Movie score: 5.5/10

Alberto And The Concrete Jungle Image

"…populated by some of the most obnoxious and annoying side characters imaginable."

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