(On Cable TV, May 2019) At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much in Beautiful Girls to set the film apart from so many others. It starts as an urbane jazz pianist leaves Manhattan to go back home for a ten-year high school reunion, and rekindles old friendships, courtships and rivalries. So far so good. But the film gradually expands outward to cover an ensemble cast of characters, and as you go down the list of actors featured here, it’s hard not to marvel at the assembled talent: Matt Dillon, Timothy Hutton, Rosie O’Donnell, Natalie Portman, Michael Rapaport, Mira Sorvino, Uma Thurman… No wonder the film still gets some attention. Written by Scott Rosenberg, better known for Con Air, the dialogue has an enjoyably funny quality to it, especially when the characters played by O’Donnell or Portman come in to steal every scene they’re in. The mostly episodic film deals with a fair number of subplots, leaning into the whole small-town atmosphere made claustrophobic by the incessant snow. There’s a great use of “Sweet Caroline,” as well as a few other tracks that do much to make the film a period piece. It’s all quite comforting: By the time our New York character goes back home at the end of Beautiful Girls, we’re almost sorry to leave the place.