Combining the worst aspects of the Cassavetes school of blue-collar Gotham improv with a poorly developed narrative that’s as careless as its characters, “Broke Even” has little chance of anteing up to the table with the indie big boys. Rambling account of gambling-addicted losers who are aces at making supremely stupid decisions struggles to find some relevancy with a strained AIDS subplot accenting an unlikely love story. The streets and the goombahs filling it were familiar long ago, and tyro helmer David Feldman’s inability to infuse it with anything new will restrict pic to marginal fest status.
Dot (Kevin Corrigan), Lem (Mick Cunningham) and Curry (Michael Lowry) waste their time either chugging down brews at the bar or making bad bets. Their losing streak only becomes worse when they fall for a blatant scam involving insurance settlements for terminally ill AIDS patients. Guys’ utter blindness to the con unintentionally places aud in a grossly superior position to the characters, ruining any hope of sympathy for even Dot, whose affair with spontaneously kooky gal Leslie (Elizabeth Berridge) lacks one droplet of chemistry.