• Released
  • September 6, 2002
  • 1 hr 31 min
  • Comedy
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Synopsis

Neely (Chelsea Altman) is a struggling actress living in New York. Her Mexican boyfriend, Tonio (Demian Bechir), is a cook who's trying to sell his own line of pasta sauces. Lottie (Patricia Clarkson), her eccentric neighbor, is obsessed with a soap opera, "Heartbreak Hospital." Frustrated with her inability to get work, Neely accepts Tonio's proposal of marriage, and plans to honeymoon with him in Mexico. On their way to the airport, she stops to say goodbye to her acting teacher, who tells her about an audition for the soap. To Tonio's chagrin, she gives it a shot. She's totally unprepared, and the other actresses at the audition have their game faces on. But Sunday (Diane Venora), the prima donna lead actress on the show, takes one look at Neely's glasses and her shock of purple hair and, vigilantly protective of her own place as the prettiest actress on the show, insists that Neely be hired. Neely gets the job, and soon finds herself caught up in more intrigue than she bargained for. She quickly finds out that the actresses who steal the spotlight from Sunday tend to get written out of the show quickly. Both Neely's jealous boyfriend and Milo (John Shea), the desperate actor who plays her love interest on the soap, Dr. Jonathan, seem to have trouble telling television from reality, and Lottie goes completely over the edge with her passion for the fictional doctor Milo portrays. Things get completely out of hand when one of the cast members turns up dead. Co-writer Henry Slesar did time writing for the daytime dramas One Life to Live and Edge of Night. Heartbreak Hospital is the feature debut of director Rudolph Gerber. It's based of the novel Murder at Heartbreak Hospital by Lottie Ohrwasher. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

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