coming soon: “Please Give 2: Give More, M.F.”

This is a review of Nicole Holofcener’s flick Please Give, in which she does the typing and the helming, as well as the walking and the talking.

We’re past Memorial Day, so the summer is here.  It is perfectly permissable to have a dinner of only corn and tomatoes, to wear all white, and to escape to the multiplex for air conditioning for intelligent art-house fare like Prince of Persia: The Oil in the Gulf The Sands of Time.

That’s right, it’s the time of year when Hollywood doesn’t make movies for adults (as opposed to the other 11 months of the year), and so I’d like to offer up a well-observed, NYC slice-of-life indie as an alternative:  Holofcener’s Please Give.

Holofcener, to me, much like many indie filmmakers:  You either love ’em or hate ’em, it’s too-much-talking, not-enough-happens vs. hmm, yes, let me offer a pretentious comment like, ‘well observed’.  (Though I’ve never understood the common complaint that not enough happens in indie films.  Characters fall in and out of love, hurt each other, love each other–  everything that happen in life!)  Here Holofcener’s script, about a certain upper-middle-class of the city, is aided by some of the finest actors available:  the invaluable Catherine Keener, the always good Oliver Platt, the underrated Amanda Peet, the just-plain-lovely Rebecca Hall (in fact, one of the rare missteps is the idea that Hall’s character can’t get a date.  She may not be bathed in Euro light the way she was in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but having Hall go dateless is the indie equivalent of oh-poor-Sandra-Bullock not being able to find a man in every rom-com she’s ever done.  She’s Sandy Bullock, for christ’s sake–  she’ll be fine!).

Yes, in the flick characters are mean and do bad things (i.e., again like life), but there are funny moments and beautiful moments and low-key moments.  It’s shot in New York City, is independent, and is a fine alternative to Sex & the City 2:  Will Anything Kill These Materialistic Whores?. And my father, who’s usually so-so on these indie flicks, seemed to like it, or at least didn’t fall asleep.


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