Drama/Comedy. By Reuben Gonzalez.
Cast: 2m., 2w. "The Boiler Room is a lusty, tough-talking wickedly penetrating account of growing up in a Spanish Harlem basement. It's a claustrophobic place shared by young Anthony, his mother, Olga, and an ominous boiler that makes its own statement and its own relentless demands. Anthony's a heartache—a street-smart, truant, stripper of cars and super thief with an unstoppable mouth and tender heart who's learned early that he must fend for himself and ignore his mother's threats. In short, a survivor. Her husband, the apartment house super, is gone. ("To the store," she's been telling complaining tenants "He had to take two trains, a bus and a ferry.") The tough banter between her and Anthony is unsparing. These two thrive on a chaotic, darkly hilarious diet of insult and recrimination, yet you never doubt the interdependence—a kind of fond, deadly resentment. Into this skewed world arrives Olga's uppity, primping daughter, Olivia, and her lawyer-husband, Doug, presumably to rent an apartment. It's an event that Olga's been wildly anticipating. She's counting on fleeing the boiler by moving in upstairs with them, even if it means turning out Anthony. Life, of course, doesn't work out that way. Nothing is quite what it seems in this family of talented self-deceivers. How it does work out brims with pain and blistering humor and a ruthless, ultimately cauterizing honesty. The final, uplifting scene, in which mother and daughter, chastened by near tragedy, lay down their arms and level with each other is a gem of few words and clear meaning." (Los Angeles Times) One int. set.