It's been a while since we've had an ensemble film about how Los Angeles is a soul-crushing purgatory, turning people into miserable, morally ambiguous yet weirdly introspective archetypes. I mean, when did Crash come out -- more than a decade ago?
Fortunately, In Echo Park isn't as full of shit as The Worst Best Picture Oscar Winner of All Time. Unfortunately, it's just as tedious and cliched. This movie follows several residents of the Echo Park area, a neighborhood that, despite its MO as a hipster wonderland, teems with struggling folk constantly unsure of their future. There's JJ (Andrew Asper), a guitar-strumming vagabond who hangs out on a box spring with his girlfriend (Kodi Saint Angelo), who he feels has a chance to get off the streets. There's Jared (Jared Brown), a very unfunny stand-up comic whose act consists of him divulging that his girlfriend (Caroline Ivari) is cheating on him. And, representing the Latino community, there's Luis (Bryan Nunez), a teenager who, of course, is being lured into the gangbanging life.
Writer-director Nathaniel Lezra may have strived to capture this community in its all working-class yet heavily gentrified splendor, but this Echo Park is really a heavily contained bubble of bad vibes. The movie suggests that these characters, along with just a few others, are the only people inhabiting the neighborhood, spending most of their time not doing much, mostly just speculating whether they should look for greener pastures. An embittered group therapy session posing as an ennui-filled drama, In Echo Park is another L.A. movie that makes people not want to visit L.A.