Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

12 March 2008

Kissing Jessica Stein, dir. Charles Herman-Wurmfeld (2001)

NIKKI says:
This is one of those films I avoided due to massive hype. You remember -- the sassy, New York-based lesbian romantic comedy written by its stars that was supposed to turn them into the Next Big Thing?

Little in that statement appealed to me at all at the time. We eventually rescued the DVD from an ex-rental sale bin, when the hype was way over, and all these years later have finally watched and enjoyed it.

It's light and fluff as any decent romantic comedy should be. It's well-written, funny, and the characters, thankfully, feel like real people rather than the stereotypical cut-outs you might find in a Kate Hudson movie.

My only problem with it had to do with its resisting to really dig deep into its major themes -- neither of these women are lesbians and yet here they are in a lesbian relationship. And if you look at the timeline, they're together for quite a long time. Yet one is resistant, and the other not at all. So what does it mean for straight girls, even those who might be latently gay or bi, to explore these alternative romantic routes?

It's never addressed. Briefly, Helen is chastised by her friend for choosing lesbianism on a whim, but this argument is never really resolved, and the issue is dropped. Much of the lesbianism discussion is about how strange the whole thing is to these women, how fun it is, how they just make each other happy. I felt there were big issues here that were going ignored. Was the lesbianism this film's gimmick, or did these women really have something to say about lesbianism as a genuine alternative to a struggle-filled dating scene?

Still, I enjoyed the movie. Its pluses raise it above. And it passed the Cry Test. If I don't cry in a romantic comedy at least once, it's a failure. I cried twice in this -- during the scene when the mum tells Jessica the play "could have been the best ever", and when Helen walks in on Jessica and her mum getting their dresses fitted and realises Jessica has been lying to her. So much emotion. I just wish they'd given me a bit more to think about.


STEVE says:
Apart from the high percentage of Zombie movies in our collection, I like to think my taste in movies is varied and diverse. It's movies like this one that back that argument up.

I enjoyed it, I don't know what to tell you. Sometimes the occasional chick-flick is something more than your standard Boy-Meets-Meg Ryan, Boy-Loses-Meg Ryan, Boy-Gets Meg Ryan-Back story. Kissing Jessica Stein was that movie.

I like to think that if Woody Allen was a young lesbian in today's world, this is the movie he'd make.


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