21 user 10 critic

Playing Mona Lisa (2000)

R | | Comedy | 1 May 2000 (USA)
1:20 | Trailer

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After being dumped by her boyfriend, a young talented musician (Witt) reluctantly moves back in with her parents and then stumbles into misadventures as she tries to make sense of this crazy life.


Matthew Huffman


Marni Freedman (play), Marni Freedman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Alicia Witt ... Claire Goldstein
Harvey Fierstein ... Bennett
Brooke Langton ... Sabrina
Johnny Galecki ... Arthur
Ivan Sergei ... Eddie / Carl / Ben
Marlo Thomas ... Sheila Goldstein
Elliott Gould ... Bernie Goldstein
Tammy Townsend ... Alice
Molly Hagan ... Jenine Goldstein
Estelle Harris ... Aunt Velva
Pat Crawford Brown ... Grandma Ida Weinberg
Zachary Kranzler ... Jeremy
Joe Mazza Joe Mazza ... Barry / Bo
Sulo Williams Sulo Williams ... Manny
Sandra Bernhard ... Bibi Carlson


Claire Goldstein is a gifted pianist, but the same week that none of her friends pass a major competition, including her boyfriend Jeremy, he dumps her. An earthquake in San Francisco damages her apartment, so she must cross town to live with her parents. Her sister is about to get married; her mom is into the occult; her dad is withdrawing and losing his job. Claire obsesses about Jeremy, despite her girlfriends' advising her how to interest other men ("look mysterious, like Mona Lisa") and taking her to parties. Her sweet teacher, Bennett, gets her auditions, but she blows them off. Then, she meets Eddie. Is he the key to her rejoining the human race? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug content, sex-related dialogue and brief language | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 May 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Two Goldsteins on Acid See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Bubble Factory See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First feature film directed by Matthew Huffman. See more »


When Eddie takes Clair to the greenhouse for pizza, you can see a cameraman crouching behind leaves as they enter, even though he says they closed it a long time ago. See more »


Bennett: I once heard someone say: "When you dim your light, so that someone else can shine, the whole world gets darker."
See more »


References Baywatch (1989) See more »


Old School Funk Jam
Performed by TeknoPhile
Written by Philip W. Gough
See more »

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User Reviews

Tickling the ivories or tickling the funny bone, this film is zany but fun
29 May 2007 | by inkblot11See all my reviews

Claire (Alicia Witt) is having one of those months. A skilled pianist, she has failed to gain acceptance into a major piano competition, causing her sorrow. Her teacher and mentor (Harvey Fierstein) is sympathetic. But, then, in short order, her boyfriend dumps her unceremoniously and an earthquake ruins her San Francisco apartment, making it necessary to move back in with the folks. Ah, the family ties that bind and choke! Mother (Marlo Thomas) is trying her hand at cooking and offering unwelcome advice to her stricken daughter. Claire's father (Elliott Gould) is a having a midlife crisis and her overachieving sister is getting set to marry a stiff-shirt dentist, in coral and bisque, no less. As Claire is seeking to pull herself out of the blues, one bright spot emerges. She meets a good-looking fish merchant (Ivan Sergei). Will her life improve? This is one zany film, with a cast of characters and a script as offbeat as they come. Witt is luminous as the gifted pianist who runs into the year from hell. Thomas and Gould are terrific as the crazy parents and the rest of the cast is very nice, especially the gorgeous and charming Sergei. With some nice costumes, scenery, and photography, the film looks good and the San Francisco setting is lovely. Even so, the script is still the big winner here, being imaginative, humorous, and surprising. If you are drawn to romantic comedies with an off-kilter charm or you get tickled watching families much crazier than your own, find this one fast. You will like what you see.

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