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A long weekend brings four women together in the countryside. Virtual strangers, the women are forced to navigate the depths of social interaction. On the surface all seems placid. But the atmosphere of calm is a facade.
Jennifer does not fit in. A total misfit, she's as wacky as a teenager can be. Goth-ed out with multiple piercings, tattoos, and dyed hair, she listens to strange music, watches vintage TV, eats primarily chocolate, and self injures. But now high school is over and she needs a job. Can she possibly have anything in common with the overweight middle-aged man in the haberdashery window? He gives her a job, not to mention a real friendship. Written by
Martin Lewison <email@example.com>
Michael McKean and 'Christine Lahti' worked together before. They were in rehearsals for a partly-improvised comedy film titled "Kiss the Bride." The project never came to the silver screen. It would have been directed by Bob Balaban. See more »
When J is removing her piercings, she pulls out a safety pin from her nose that was never there in the first place. See more »
I can't forget that first half, where 2 human beings, unencumbered by any expectation other than their own need for connection, follow none of the formulas but love on its own terms.
May to December can be the cruelest months if they're about a relationship between a young woman and an older man. `American Beauty' and more recently `Ghost World' carried the usual criticism of this socially questionable alliance, from downright damage in the former to uncertainty about how it could ever work in the latter.
In `My First Mister,' starring Albert Brooks and Leelee Sobieski, the union works so beautifully in the first half of the film I thought even I could try it. Director Christine Lahti, who won an Oscar for best short film, "Lieberman in Love," concentrates on the flowering friendship between a Goth girl who needs a friend and a job and a 49 year-old haberdasher who has jettisoned everyone in order to live out his life painlessly for everyone.
Jill Franklyn, who wrote the "Yada Yada" episode of "Seinfeld," pens perfect lines for the understated Brooks, such as when he first sees Sobieski: "Scram. Shoo. Why don't you go get your eyeballs pierced?" and another time when he says, "I want the smallest tattoo you have. Can you give me a dot, or a period?"
Director Lahti shows her originality by letting us painfully and slowly watch a purple-haired Sobieski pull out her nose and face rings. This film is the best I have ever seen to give respect to a much-maligned paring in movies. The 17-year-old punker helps him awaken to life's interesting couplings like cavorting mannequins, and he shows her love unalloyed. When the time comes for sex, as it always does in Hollywood, no one cares, even the audience, because the point is the friendship.
In the second half of the film Lahti lets go of her originality to indulge the genre with the usual fatal twist, easy reconciliation of family, and renewal for Sobieski found in a most unbelievable coincidence. Yet I can't forget that first half, where 2 human beings, unencumbered by any expectation other than their own need for connection, follow none of the formulas but love on its own terms.
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