The great thing about doing a little online
search work is that once in a while you come across movies that surprise you.
This is what happened when I saw ‘Kissing Jessica Stein’. An independent movie
released in film festivals, this romantic comedy was interesting piece to watch
in terms of what it had to say. The thing about the genre of romantic comedy is
that it is filled with clichés. The girl meets a guy or vice versa and they
overcome obstacles to eventually fall in love. While this formula works just
about fine, watching this movie I was forced to discard any preconceived
notions about a romance. And that is why I liked the movie so much. It forces
the viewer to think beyond labels and look at romance or a relationship just as
|L-R: Heather Juergensen and Jennifer Westfeldt in 'Kissing Jessica Stein'|
The movie follows a year in the life of twenty-eight
year old Jessica Stein (Jennifer Westfeldt), a Jewish copyeditor living and
working in New York City. She is plagued by failed blind dates with men, and
decides to answer a newspaper's personal advertisement placed by Helen Cooper
(Heather Juergensen), a thirty something art gallerist bisexual who is seeking
a lesbian relationship to replace her unsatisfying sex with men.
Jennifer Westfeldt makes for a very enjoyable
Jessica. She is adorable as a woman looking for love, something we have see far
too often on screen. But what makes her character different is her openness
towards the new relationship, once she agrees to it. Her initial conversations
with Helen about the relationship will function are very humorous to watch,
banking on the extremities of the two characters. Heather Juergensen, starts out
with a performance that is very strong but it is her vulnerability that is
visible towards the end that makes the combination work. The movie has a host
of other characters that make the situation complex including Jessica’s mother
played by Tovah Feldshuh and her ex boyfriend/boss Josh (Scott Cohen).
What I enjoyed about the movie so much was the
interesting manner in which the chemistry between Jessica and Helen is used.
While Jessica is uncomfortable yet intrigued by her instincts to move on with
her relationship, Helen is confident and sexual, making for a very entertaining
watch. In addition to that, Jessica is never really labeled as a lesbian or a
bi-sexual but in a conversation with one of her friends realizes that if all
her needs from a relationship are being fulfilled then there is nothing wrong
The movie actually
belongs to the two leading ladies who also wrote the script. The script remains
very pulled together, never losing sight of the story and wasting time on
unnecessary drama. The movie tackles the subject matter with integrity and
still comes out as entertaining. Charles Herman-Wurmfeld directs the movie in a
manner, which makes it look fresh and keeps the scenes light enough for the
audience to enjoy.
Try out the movie, you will surely like it.
Labels: English, Good, Romantic Comedy