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4th Floor

The heart-tugging premise of Antonio Mercero's well-crafted "4th Floor" must have sounded like good news for the tissue industry, but its determination to stay upbeat leaves the project marooned somewhere between schmaltz and social realism. Offshore prospects look solid in Spanish-speaking territories but slim elsewhere.

With:
With: Juan Jose Ballesta, Luis Angel Prieto, Gorka Moreno, Alejandro Zafra, Maite Jauregui.

On paper, the heart-tugging premise of Antonio Mercero’s well-crafted “4th Floor” must have sounded like good news for the tissue industry, but its determination to stay upbeat leaves the project generically marooned somewhere between straight-up schmaltz and taboo-busting social realism. Though agreeable enough and with a universally appealing theme, pic’s failure to go all the way with its dramatic potential leaves it feeling flat, despite high quality performances from its teen ensemble. Offshore prospects look solid in Spanish-speaking territories but slim elsewhere.

Wheelchair-bound buddies Miguel Angel (Juan Jose Ballesta), Izan (Luis Angel Prieto) and Dani (Gorka Moreno) are making the best of life on the fourth floor of a children’s hospital where the patients have various forms of cancer. Low-key plotlines have the kids running their basketball team, playing tricks on the nurses and hanging out with the entertaining Cuban maintenance man. Newcomer Jorge (Alejandro Zafra) is sullen before becoming a member of the gang. Dani goes up to the sixth floor, where he meets and falls for anorexic Gloria (Maite Jauregui). Manuel Villalta’s score shuttles between satisfying and sappy.

4th Floor

Spain

Production: A Bocaboca release of a Bocaboca PC production, in association with TVE, Canal Plus. (International sales: Bocaboca, Madrid.) Produced by Cesar Benitez. Directed by Antonio Mercero. Screenplay, Mercero, Albert Espinosa, Ignacio del Moral.

Crew: Camera (color), Raul Perez Cubero; editor, Jose Maria Biurrun; music, Manuel Villalta. Reviewed at Malaga Film Festival (competing), May 3, 2003. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: With: Juan Jose Ballesta, Luis Angel Prieto, Gorka Moreno, Alejandro Zafra, Maite Jauregui.

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