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Joshua Michael Stern
New York serves as a backdrop for a cast of characters in search of love, lust or lucre including a woman who makes awkward moves on the man renovating her SoHo loft, an embezzler, a sleazy artist and a phone psychic. Written by
I kind of enjoyed it until I nodded out on it. The structure is that of a skin flick. Characters are linked as in La Ronde or The Leopard Man. We meet Jill Hennesy, who is a class act, no doubt about it, and isn't getting along with her husband, and so makes it with a plumber or something. (Don't worry. The sex isn't explicit and there is no nudity.) It's marvelous, though, to see Jill Hennesy, the modelesque and feminist lawyer on "Law and Order" asking some surprisingly sensitive goon who is trying to help her hang up a painting to do her a favor -- "Make love to me." Okay.
She finds her husband, some kind of art dealer, not interested in her sexually. (!) She kisses him and tells him, "I'm horny," and he walks silently away and turns on his favorite jazz piano record, while she turns on every noisy appliance in their high-end apartment.
So why (you ask) is the husband indifferent to her charms? What's the matter with him. Is he gay? Well -- yes. Or rather bisexual, I suppose, since he married her in the first place. But hubby's real interest is in Steve Buscemi, an artist, and he comes on to Buscemi in a rather assertive manner and tries to kiss him. I don't know why. Buscemi is a great actor and a delight to see on the screen but, my God, he's got the canines of a vampire. Buscemi gently tells him, "I'm not gay." But then there is a love scene between them. I can't tell how explicit this was because I was covering my eyes and having an attack of homosexual anxiety.
Fortunately the next episode, involving Buscemi and Rosario Dawson, was enough to reassure me about my gender identity. Is there a greater constitutional puzzle than Rosario Dawson? Most people, at a glance, would classify her as African-American and yet she's a salad of racial genes, no more biologically "black" than "white" or "Hispanic". Something similar holds for people of mixed race like Halle Berrie and Mariah Carey. If you took all the genes of all the humans in the world and put them into a blender they would come out looking like these actresses (only more ordinary). They only belong to one or another racial classification because they -- and we -- say they do. This is known as "the social construction of reality." Now I'd like you all the read Berger and Luckman because there will be a quiz.
Next episode: Dawson has some sort of confrontation with her handsome white boyfriend. "We have to talk about this," she says. (I'm not making that up.) It was about this point in the movie that eurythmic breathing set in.
Anyway, you get the picture. One sexual episode leads to another, just as in a skin flick, except that here there is no nudity and any coitus we witness is simulated. In other words, in this movie, the emphasis is on the interludes between sexual encounters. And what are they like? They're like Woody Allen, that's what they're like. Ordinary little people doing ordinary little things that have to do with relationships. When Jill Hennesy and the picture-hanger are looking through a kitchen drawer for a hammer, they find there is no hammer. But Hennesy takes out one irrelevant item after another and dangles it before him? A box of staples. "No good?"
And at the bottom of the drawer, one of those flat plastic containers from a Chinese restaurant that everyone seems to save. "Soy sauce," says the plumber.
If it hand't been on TV at such a late hour I would probably have watched it through, although the ordinary little people, on screen or in real life, can be a little dull at time. Will Rosario Dawson reject Buscemi's appeal to let him paint her? I really didn't care except for the vague hope that we'd discover whether Rosario Dawson's figure was as mouthwatering as the rest of her.
An unambitious movie, but nice New York locations, and the acting is quite good really. It's Hennesy's best role at any rate.
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