Prince of Broadway (2010)
Movie InfoA New York street hustler specializing in name-brand knock-offs finds his highly profitable game suddenly complicated when his ex-girlfriend shows up toting the son he never knew he had in director Sean Baker's warmhearted tale of a life interrupted. Lucky makes his living by coaxing wary tourists into the back room of a Broadway Street clothing store and selling them cheaply produced knock-offs of popular designer brands. For a Ghanaian immigrant, Lucky seems to be doing fairly well, that is until his ex-girlfriend drops off their two-year-old son and promptly disappears without a trace. Now faced with a series of important decisions that he never anticipated having to make, Lucky struggles to find a means of maintaining his hustler lifestyle while reluctantly adjusting to the demands of fatherhood. … More
Related News & Features
Critics Consensus: Machete Is Trashy Fun
– Rotten Tomatoes
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.
Critic Reviews for Prince of Broadway
Director Sean Baker's fascinating, impossible-to-categorize film relies on handheld cameras, improvised dialogue, jump cuts and a very photogenic arena, the city's wholesale fashion district.
It's an undeniably small yet almost indefinable film, warmhearted and bittersweet, laced with both humor and tough emotions.
Off-formula and on-point, the story's emotional jabs are all the more poignant for their unpredictability.
It uses the immediacy and roughness of its look to its story's advantage, the documentary feel adding to the sense of authenticity, and finds glimpses of beauty.
A story just as counterfeit as the fake brand purses its characters are pushing.
Maybe if you aren't familiar with the world 'Prince of Broadway' depicts then this might seem 'real,' but in truth, it was pushed. Furthermore, I haven't heard the n-word used so much since 'Roots.'
Brilliant neorealist, improvisatory film using non-professionals to tell a story about a street hustler and the baby he is forced to look after.
New York City as a disturbing dystopia where it's hard out there not just for a pimp, but for an African scam artist, too!
In the grand neo-realist tradition, the film offers a naturalistic, slow burn rendition of the hassles, heartaches and rewards of the salesman's hand-to-mouth existence.
Slowly unfolds in a vérité style to quietly root for the hopes and dreams of distinctive individuals in a corner of the underground economy who manage to feel optimistic.
Irresistible rowdy toddler with tot terror on his mind meets freaked out free spirit hustler harboring an apparent allergy to fatherhood, amidst baby daddy blues betrayals, police busts, and grossout diaper duty.
This low-budget indie can be appreciated by folks who want to see the real New York.
Audience Reviews for Prince of Broadway
"Prince of Broadway" is an admirable but dull film. It heroically chronicles the hardscrabble life of poor immigrants in New York City, but it doesn't have much of a story to tell about them.
Lucky, the main character, is an illegal immigrant (from Africa, it seems) who ekes out a meager living by selling counterfeit luxury items, a major trade in NYC. His life is turned upside-down when a former girlfriend shows up one day and hands him a baby. "He's your son," she says. He struggles to hand the baby back, but to no avail. He stands there shell-shocked, not even knowing how to hold a child much less parent one.
This is great subject matter, but writer/director Sean Baker doesn't really know what to do with it. Watching this uneducated man struggle to learn to take care of a baby doesn't make for compelling cinema after about 20 minutes.
Baker is a master of ethnographic cinema, capturing the look and feel of a particular social milieu. He presents the New York under-class with the same kind of deep, gritty authenticity that Lee Daniels did in 'Precious.' Alas, capturing a look and feel is only part of a movie-making project. There also has to be a great screenplay with a great story. Baker really disappoints here. He may be a great director, but he's no screenwriter.
Still, I'm very pleased that 'Prince of Broadway' finally found a distributor two years after the film was finished. No doubt this was all due to Lee Daniels, who agreed to let his name be used in the marketing campaign. In all the movie ads I've seen, "Lee Daniels Presents" appears above the title. We desperately need more hand-made films like this and more filmmakers like Baker and Daniels, who are willing to forgo a life of riches to tell stories about the poor.
"Prince" may not be a perfect film, but cinephiles from coast to coast must support it to send a message that films with subject matter like this are marketable. If a market for films like this opens up, we would no doubt get some better specimens of the genre quickly. Support hand-made working-class cinema!
Prince of Broadway tells the story of a "street rat" named Lucky. He's from Ghana and is living, illegally, in New York City and participating in the lucrative (for the wholesaler, not the street vendor), illegal, industry of selling counterfeit fashion merchandise.
Along the way, we see how depressed his lifestyle is. He lives in squalor in a dilapidated studio apartment in Harlem. He has a nice girlfriend who, for some reason, stands by this loser despite his being irresponsible, vulgar and an all-around uneducated macho pig.
Well, along the way comes a little boy to change Lucky's life forever. One of Lucky's former flings drops by and demands that he take some responsibility for his half of the creature. Not surprisingly, Lucky is dumbfounded and tries to evade his duties as father. But he is forced to live the the child as his mother has all but left the little one at the mercy of this stunted adult.
After a while, Lucky's incessant denial to own up to his responsibility as father and contributing adult gets a little old. His reluctance to accept the child and his negligence is a little hard to watch as the little one gets tossed around like a rag doll with no regard to his own feelings. In essence, what are supposed to come off as endearing, funny little moments come off as annoying and unbearable to endure when it's at the expense of a defenseless toddler.
But, I guess the message of this film is to depict that "upstanding" individuals such as Lucky and his uncouth clan of friends and former lovers actually exist. The stunted development of a child into adulthood is a theme that is prevalent to the point of having it clobber you on the head. The incessant belligerence of the main character antagonizes him to the point where you wish he would actually get shot or run over by a bus or something--but, in all likelihood (and in accordance to his display of negligence) it would be his son who would undoubtedly suffer such a gross fate.
Discuss Prince of Broadway on our Movie forum!