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Puccini for Beginners (2006)

6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 1,924 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 14 user | 35 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

A recently-singled New York writer finds herself in two surprising and complicated relationships.

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Title: Puccini for Beginners (2006)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Catering Boss
...
Samantha
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Jeff
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...
...
Philip
...
Nell
...
Vivian
Natalie Havermeyer ...
Mimi Molligher ...
Woman in Elevator
Maggie Moore ...
Woman in Park
...
Man in Park
Yasu Suzuki ...
Sushi Chef 1
...
Sushi Chef 2
...
Molly
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Storyline

Allegra, an opera-loving writer in New York, eschews commitment, so her girlfriend, Samantha, leaves her. Allegra misses Sam, and resents the accusation that she's afraid to say "I love you," but she's soon involved with two people - Grace and Philip - who, unbeknownst to her, have just broken up with each other. Allegra juggles the two affairs, telling neither about the other; each likes her more and more as her old fears start making her itchy. Things come to a head at an engagement party where Allegra is pinch-hitting as a catering assistant. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Comedy of Operatic Proportions See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 February 2007 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Triangle of Love  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,380 (USA) (2 February 2007)

Gross:

$89,417 (USA) (22 June 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Philip's clothing changes three times during his date to the opera with Allegra. When they leave for the opera, he is seen wearing jeans, a sweater and a suit jacket. Immediately after the opera, he is wearing a button-up shirt and khakis instead of his sweater and jeans. During dinner, Philip is seen wearing the sweater with the khakis while his jacket is hanging over the back of his chair. See more »

Quotes

Nell: You got together with Philip as a way to get back at Samantha and then when your emotions got too strong you found Grace under whom you could project your conflict and who so conveniently was braking up with her boyfriend making her another unavailable love object which of course confirms your deep cynicism about relationships in general and keeps you from confronting your real problem which has had to be yourself.
Allegra: Jesus Christ Nell, all I did was ask you what you wanted to have for lunch...
Nell: ...
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Connections

References The L Word (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Likable Romantic Triangle Comedy Hamstrung by a Lackluster Lead and Plodding Pacing
24 July 2007 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

Directed and written by Maria Maggenti ("The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love"), this disheveled 2007 romantic triangle comedy has several likable elements, but it never seems to coalesce into something more resonant. The chief problem is that the protagonist, a neurotic, opera-loving lesbian writer appropriately named Allegra, is so perpetually self-absorbed that her dilemma never elicits much sympathy. Elizabeth Reaser is an appealing character actress but frankly not charismatic enough to get away with the commitment-phobic shenanigans that Maggenti throws her way in the acerbic script. The gap causes an odd imbalance with her more intriguing co-stars Justin Kirk and Gretchen Mol. Kirk, who soared as Prior Walter in Mike Nichols' epic 2003 adaptation of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America", harnesses his quirky persona effectively to play Philip, a bored philosophy professor who becomes attracted to Allegra.

In turn, Allegra finds herself drawn to Philip but is still reeling from a break-up with her conflicted girlfriend of nine months. Meanwhile, Mol (refreshingly frank as "The Notorious Bettie Page") seems to be channeling a bit of Meg Ryan's flaky self-righteousness in playing Grace, a pert glass-blower who just broke up with Philip. Grace meets Allegra, and the standard complications ensue. Even with the lesbian angle, which Maggenti handles with aplomb, the indie movie feels more like a throwback to a 1930's screwball farce, especially seen in a hectic party scene where all three principals converge in a most haphazard way. Emotional isolation is a worthy theme to explore, but Maggenti can't make the film snap with the strength of her witty observations. One would have also expected a reference to Puccini, in particular, his tragic opera "Turandot", to be reflected more fully than it does here through the plodding plot structure. The 2007 DVD has an insightful commentary track from Maggenti and editor Susan Graef, as well as a couple of deleted scenes.


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