Break Glass is a charming little dramedy from writer-director Jay Leonard. A supporting character states at one point that she feels like a player in a Cameron Crowe picture. Leonard’s writing indeed feels in tune with Crowe’s sensibilities on occasion, though Leonard stands in his own way as the story unfolds.
Ryan (Ricky DeRosa) plans to commit suicide once his ex-wife gets remarried in a few days. His brother Trevor (Jeff Raiano) encourages him to attend a self-help “P3 meeting.” This leads to the two hitting the road as Ryan makes amends for his past decisions. Along the way, they pick up Sarah (Suzanna Bornn), who still harbors pain from past experiences with Ryan.
Leonard presents three relatable and funny characters in Ryan, Trevor, and Sarah. The scenes focusing on the trio tend to work the best in Break Glass. The actors portraying them find the right amount of cleverness and pathos to explore from the script. Raiano is particularly at home with the comedic stretches. One scene involving Ryan practicing a speech is very effective and showcases the best work from DeRosa and Bornn in the film. The former delivers a quiet but powerful monologue, as the latter emotionally reacts. The director makes the intelligent choice of setting aside the jokes for this scene, and it all plays out beautifully.
“…leads to the two hitting the road as Ryan makes amends for his past decisions.”
The supporting cast members surrounding DeRosa, Raiano, and Bornn are not as strong in their roles. Leonard fills out scenes with too many bit players who are just awkward or annoying. An entire subplot concerning a self-help speaker on a stage could have been removed without it being missed. Another scene that involves a liquor store owner also feels stretched, and its religious joke plays out too long.
The dialogue between Ryan, Trevor, and Sarah is often believable and colorful. But even their conversations can go on past the necessary points. Examples include a story about a clown and a discussion about eating lunch at a strip club. Leonard writes good dialogue but doesn’t know when to apply “less is more.”
Leonard edited Break Glass himself. There are some obvious moments and characters that an editor who wasn’t also the writer and director would have cut for pacing. At 113 minutes, the film is easily filled with 20 or so minutes of fluff. Still, this is a warm and enjoyable film as is, but at a tighter 93 minutes, it could have been an even better one.
"…a warm and enjoyable film…"