What is it going to take to get a movie made that features Latinos in roles other than drug smuggler, anonymous sexy woman, or helpless immigrant? For starters, it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a Latino writer-director at the wheel. I mean, if no one else is going to give us the chance to express the fullness of our experience, I guess we just gotta do it ourselves, right? Case in point: Boricua actor Victor Cruz’s low-budget debut feature The Stockroom, which showcases an all-Latino principal cast yet has all the ingredients to please broader audiences with its classic tale of big dreams and workplace ennui.
In addition to his writer-director duties, Cruz plays Joseph, a lowly stockroom supervisor on the cusp of his 10-year anniversary on the job. Problem is, popular folklore dictates that anyone who spends more than 10 years in the stockroom will never leave. After a frustrated promotion, Joseph watches the clock tick as he struggles to make a decision for his future: will he finally pursue the career in standup comedy he’s always dreamed of, or will he join the weary ranks of stockroom lifers?
The premise is instantly sympathetic for anyone who’s struggled with a dead-end job, especially those of us who have put in time drudging through the thankless service industry, and its Latino-heavy roster only adds to the realism of its working-class New York setting. From the trailer, we can appreciate solid comedic performances from the cast, which buoy an otherwise straightforward, low-budget style. Cruz’s acting in particular seems to walk a fine line between tasteful and too much, but his puppy-dog eyes and electric charisma manage to hold things right in place. The Stockroom has recently embarked on an international festival tour, and will be making stops in L.A., New York, Orlando, Georgia, and Italy throughout September and October.