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Friday, September 7, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

Aspiring actress faces life's, love's twists and turns in "Hollywood Dreams"

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review 3 stars

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"Hollywood Dreams," with Tanna Frederick, Justin Kirk, Zack Norman, David Proval. Written and directed by Henry Jaglom.

101 minutes. Rated R for language and some sexual content.

For some people, life is a train wreck. One such individual is Margie Chizek (Tanna Frederick), an aspiring actress bouncing from one disaster to another in writer-director Henry Jaglom's impressive "Hollywood Dreams."

We meet Margie at an audition, during which she manages to intrigue and then exasperate an offscreen director (Jaglom) in the space of a couple of minutes. In short order, she gets thrown out of her home, becomes stranded when her car breaks down, and demonstrates how she loses weight by spitting up cookies.

Just when one begins to dread spending more time watching Margie fall to pieces, a strange reversal of fortune reveals a more compelling side to her. A pair of middle-age producers (Zack Norman, David Proval) put Margie up in guest rooms shared by Robin (Justin Kirk), a handsome, rising actor with a reputation for being bravely, openly gay.

Except he isn't. Robin is straight, the dubious beneficiary of a plot to create an allegedly gay star. He and Margie fall in love, thus annoying his backers.

But more interesting is the way Margie flourishes in her new romance paradoxically, through efforts by others to squelch it. Jaglom ("Last Summer in the Hamptons") doesn't portray her as conniving so much as lost in a fantasy that informs both how she loves and how she learns to become a showbiz cutthroat.

Imbued with a sense of mystery about the way people instinctively change — and deepened by powerful, fascinating performances from Kirk and Frederick — this is one of Jaglom's most curious and oddly moving films.

Tom Keogh: tomwkeogh@yahoo.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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