LA City Beat Reviews Confessions


(November 2, 2007)
Confessions of a Superhero

Matthew Ogens’s funny and wistful documentary explores the Hollywood dream factory by watching four hopefuls following an unusual guide map to fame: They loiter at Grauman’s in superhero costumes and shake down tourists for tips. Their unofficial king is Christopher Dennis, a.k.a. Superman, a decade-plus veteran of the Walk of Fame grind, who claims that his mother – Tony- and Oscar-winner Sandy Dennis – ordered him to act, from her death bed. And the gawky Dennis – an ex-addict living in an apartment crammed with Man of Steel souvenirs – does resemble a weathered Clark Kent, though the long neck sprouting from his caped shoulders also gives him the look of an alert turtle.

Ogens doesn’t miss a chance to deflate these street performers’ ambitions, but his well-shot documentary is affectionate, and rich with lovely moments of humane kitsch: Wonder Woman (Jennifer Gehrt) auditions for commercials; Batman (Maxwell Allen) confesses his anger issues to a therapist; and the Incredible Hulk (Joseph McQueen) visits the alley where he slept homeless for four years. A recurring image of Dennis, whom even the other superheroes consider obsessive, grooming himself for another afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard by hair-spraying a curl in his forelock reminds you that these ridiculous superstar aspirants, like the hundreds of thousands of fame-seekers who continue to come west, are just ordinary mortals putting their tights on one leg at a time as they dream of better tomorrows. (Amy Nicholson) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3)


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