Confessions of a Superhero & r & & r & by MARTY DEMAREST & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & n The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, after viewing a documentary by the titular filmmaker, a character says "I thought aspects of it seemed slightly fake." I had the same reaction to the documentary Confessions of a Superhero. I think director Matt Ogens took a real story and faked it out -- or let it get fakey without documenting the lie.

Confessions ostensibly examines the lives of the people who dress as superheroes on Hollywood Boulevard, collecting tips from tourists who want their pictures taken with icons. Of course, these costumed characters are primarily out-of-work actors, and most of what director Ogens shows us of their lifestyles (shoddy apartments, life-support relationships) makes them resemble a thousand other Tinseltown failures.

These are opportunists looking to get their faces on screen -- any screen, at any cost. Some of the deceptions speak of troubled lives. (Superman alleges he's the son of actress Sandy Dennis. Her family denies this.) Other exaggerations come across as imitations of reality TV, such as Wonder Woman's dry-eyed cry over her failed marriage.

The only lasting trappings of realism come from Margot Kidder (Lois Lane in Superman). Kidder makes cash by signing autographs, and her high-grade panhandling contrasts nicely with the costumed characters' nickel-and-dime desperation. Kidder's grizzled voice and Hollywood-weary demeanor make her the closest thing Confessions has to a villain as she rolls her eyes and avoids hanging out with her obsessive fans.

Ogens sometimes lets his subjects parade their delusions and insecurities without intervention, but a few sequences betray the filmmaker's hand. When Superman and his girlfriend attend a superheroes convention, a pudgy, badly dressed Batman wins the costume contest. I'm sure this could happen, but Ogens sets it up as a punch line. And when Hollywood Boulevard's Batman gets arrested, Ogens doesn't follow up. There are too many loose ends to see the truth, which I expect at least to glimpse in a documentary.

Maybe Ogens himself has some 'fessin' up to do. (Not Rated)

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