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A shaggy dog story with little bite, “Norberto’s Deadline” follows the plodding progress of a thirtysomething nebbish who achieves something like self-fulfillment, even as his marriage fails and his professional life stalls, while acting with an amateur theatrical troupe. Daniel Hendler, an award-winning Uruguayan actor making his feature filmmaking debut, may have wanted to show how art allows even ineffectual dweebs the possibility of at least fleeting transcendence. But neither Hendler nor lead Fernando Amaral can generate a rooting interest in the feckless protagonist. Bland dramedy won’t travel far past the fest circuit.

Newly employed as rental agent for a real estate firm, Norberto (Amaral) finds his natural timidity is a handicap. When his boss suggests a self-assertiveness course, he instead enrolls in an acting class — and finds he’s just as enthusiastic as his mostly younger classmates. He neglects his wife, who leaves him, and fails to rent an apartment occupied by an elderly couple (who, truth be told, don’t want to move). But Norberto enjoys a brief moment of glory as a supporting player in a production of “The Seagull.” Too late, however, to do the pic much good.

Norberto’s Deadline

Uruguay-Argentina

  • Production: A Cordon Films (Uruguay) production in association with Aeroplano (Argentina). Produced by Micaela Sole, Daniel Hendler. Executive producer, Micaela Sole. Co-producer, Sebastian Aloi. Directed, written by Daniel Hendler.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Arauco Hernandez; editor, Andres Tambornino; music, Maximiliano Silveira; production designers, Nicole Davrieux, Gonzalo Delgado. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 11, 2010. (In San Sebastian Film Festival -- Filmmakers of the Present.) Running time: 89 MIN.
  • With: With: Fernando Amaral, Eugenia Guerty, Roberto Suarez, Cesar Troncoso.
  • Music By: