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Beautiful, sophisticated women are all over Oscar Grubman. He is sensitive and compassionate, speaks French fluently, is passionate about Voltaire, and thinks the feature that tells the most about a woman is her hands. On the train home from Chauncey Academy for the Thanksgiving weekend, Oscar confides in his best friend that he has plans for this vacation--he will win the heart of his true love. But there is one major problem--Oscar's true love is his stepmother Eve. Oscar is certain that he could be a better mate to Eve than his work-obsessed father. He fails to win Eve's heart and is consequently dejected. Oscar's path to his true love is further crossed by Diane, Eve's best friend who, one night while wearing Eve's borrowed perfumed scarf, offers him temporary comfort in an unconventional tryst. For Diane, Oscar fills a void in her life. For Oscar, Diane is somewhat of a distraction, as his continued pursuit of Eve leads to an unexpected resolution. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I'm perplexed by the number of people who seem to miss the crucial element of this film: that Oscar is not as mature as he thinks he is. His "love" for Eve doesn't feel real to the viewer because it's not. His patter--at tea, in the bar, and elsewhere--feels forced and self-conscious because it is. Because he is very intelligent, he makes the classic adolescent mistake of overestimating his own maturity and the force of his own feelings. As Diane, Bebe Neuwirth points out that it's not his maturity that draws so many women to him, but that he is still unjaded. That is, his most attractive quality is in fact the precise opposite of what he thinks it is. Eve's rebuff, though a bit ambivalent, forces him to reevaluate his own feelings. The film's only major flaw is that it leaves this process underexplicated, but when at the end he is more responsive to his classmate's overtures it becomes clear that he is starting to see the light, however vaguely. The film's point is thus obvious: a crucial part of growing up is realizing how much growing up one has left to do. That it makes this point in such a refreshing, funny, and absurd way is the film's charm.
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