A familiar-yet-scrappy little indie that offers equal parts obvious humor and surprisingly clever wit, the Jersey-based Glow Ropes: The Rise and Fall of a Bar Mitzvah Emcee is, well, it's a fairly inconsistent affair. Much of the material could best be described as simplistic or generic, but every once in a while the filmmakers manage to toss something in that's unexpectedly amusing, clever or insightful.
Basically, it's a so-so flick, but when you consider the scant experience of the filmmakers -- and the obviously minimal production budget -- it throws a little extra "good will" into the equation. "Cute" is what I'd call it, "cute" with moments of "meh."
It's the same old "rags to riches to (maybe) rags" tale: Young Taylor James (Tim Pepper) has been 'discovered' by party planner extraordinaire Vanessa Dupree (a very amusing Judy Reyes), and she hopes to turn the slick dancer into the biggest Bar Mitzvah emcee since, well, since anyone. This spells trouble for established Bar Mitzvah stud Sebastian (George Valencia), who's forced to take Taylor under his wing and show him the ropes -- for a little while, anyway.
Presented in an indie-friendly mockumentary style, the flick seems inspired by The Wedding Singer, A Star is Born, and the collected works of Christopher Guest. There's a distinct air of improv found in Glow Ropes, and the upstart actors acquit themselves with solid consistency. Technical assets are predictably sketchy, but the flick maintains a light tone and brisk pace, so that kinda evens things out.
Audio/Video: The widescreen transfer is just a little sketchy, but the flick looks pretty solid for this type of low-budget indie. Audio is presented in a passable Dolby Digital 2.0 format.
Extras: A few silly little featurettes (The Fish Story, The Hemmorhoid Story, Mitzvah Music) recount some humorous production anecdotes and emcee war stories. Also included are four interview segments: 1. professional emcee Stephen Celenrano, 2. writer/director George Valencia, 3. actress/producer Judy Reyes, 4. producers Marion Tusche and Arthur Backal. Fun stuff, actually.
If you've ever A) worked as an emcee, B) knew someone who was an "event DJ," or C) ever attended more than, say, five bar mitzvahs, you'll probably find something to like in Glow Ropes.