Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)

(In theaters, May 2002) A plot summary of this film reads like a full bingo-card of things I generally don’t really care to see: It’s an independent romantic comedy in which a Jewish New-Yorker career woman -tired of meaningless dating- falls in love with another girl, an artist who will make our heroine realize who she truly is. Awww. What I didn’t expect is how adorable Jessica Stein would be (she’s played by co-writer Jennifer Westfeldt, and you’d better remember that name!), how witty the script is and how I got so genuinely interested in the overall story. There isn’t too much in terms of sexual politics here, and people on both sides are likely to find fault with the film if they really want to. (In many ways, it’s a coming-of-age story more than a romantic comedy about Jews, lesbians or whatevers) New York really shines here; there aren’t any landmarks shots, but the street-level cinematography gives a better feel for the real city than any of the other blockbuster New-York films I recall seeing recently. (Well, okay, maybe at the exception of Keeping The Faith). The wonderful script is literate and unusually adept at defining its characters. Finding Kissing Jessica Stein might be a challenge at your local video store, but it’s well worth the effort. Even if you don’t think you’ll enjoy it, hey, you just might.

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