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For Walter Himmelstein, a young man endearingly known as Putzel, life literally doesn't go beyond his family's fish store on the upper west side of Manhattan. In this heartwarming romantic comedy about sex, love and smoked fish, Walter's aspirations of taking over his uncle's fish emporium are disrupted by the arrival of Sally, who becomes romantically involved with his about-to-retire and very-married uncle. While Walter tries to thwart their romance in order to ensure his taking over the business, he finds his circumscribed life thrown off kilter, and, after years of being undermined by his family and friends, finally starts to realize that he's more than a Putzel. Written by
"Putzel." What exactly is a "putzel?" A Putz is a yiddish word for "penis," often used the same way "schmuck" is. It is mostly used at someone, not in an anatomical way. e.g. "Hey, don't be such a putz."
In the film, "Putzel" is the nickname of our protagonist, Walter, who, after thirty years of living on the Upper West Side, longs to be the owner of "Himmelstein's," the family business. We follow Walter through a series of events, pushing him to take control over his life and break down the walls that he and his family have built up around him (literally and figuratively: watch, and you'll understand).
The film is a Jewish dream come true. What could be better than a handful of characters throwing around yiddish terms; lox, bagels, and shmeer; and a witty, yet moving, plot that makes you want to celebrate life with a bottle of Manny? (That's Maneshevitz for all you goyim out there...)
But "Putzel" doesn't only appeal to the Jews; it appeals to everyone. It is incredibly funny. Throughout the film, everybody is in cahoots with everybody, and a tangled web of mess among all the characters is strewn together.
Watching this film felt like home. There is a familiarity to it that I think a lot of people will find; the universal desire to want something great and to feel accomplished. I highly recommend it. It is the epitome of "a feel good" movie. L'Chaim!
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