Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) Poster

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Elegant Hoydens
jeanroman18 July 2003
There are so few lesbian genre films "OUT" there. And for those lesbian genre films that do exist most have characters that are either disturbed psychopaths (my favorite- Heavenly Creatures) or cardboard cutout prototypes that have no place in my world. As result, unfortunately most lesbians are starved for good lesbian genre films. The best lesbian roles have usually been played out in supporting role characters within the main stream. To appease the appetite, `gaydar' commands an ever watchful eye to find those precious tidbits.

However, thank heavens for the charming wit and refreshingly real characters in "Kissing Jessica Stein". "Kissing Jessica Stein" goes beyond the stereotypical to explore individual characters for who they are and what they are going through in their lives. The film is a positive reinforcement on the value of relationships to an individual's personal growth and spiritual evolution.

"Kissing Jessica Stein" is a highly intelligent romantic comedy that goes deep to explore emotional relationships: Not only between Jessica and Helen but also between Jessica and her Mother, Jessica and Josh, other co-workers and all of their friends. The film highlights the importance of discovering yourself and of letting those that love and care about you know who and what makes you happy. Ultimately anyone that truly loves you wants you to be happy. Jessica and Helen's continued deep friendship after their breakup is testament to this. Jessica's painting, Josh's true love for writing and Helen's continued enjoyment of a lesbian sexual relationship is also testament.

All is true to the spiritual core of the writers intent. There is no definitive end to ongoing life. The writers cleverly leave us to "marinate" within our own imaginations.
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Excellent Movie
loopyluly27 April 2004
Kissing Jessica Stein is supremely wonderful. It is the best romantic comedy I have ever seen. The movie made me laugh, it made me cry, it was everything you could ever want in a movie. I would recommend it to anyone. The characters are hilarious, but three dimensional and the sense of humor that the movie carries is phenomenal.

The scenes in New York and beautifully shot, also and the Jewish family is very much like my own. Though some characters might be called stereotypical, I would have to thoroughly disagree and say that I thought every character had their our twists and turns. Lastly, I thought the chemistry between Helen and Jessica was so perfect for the movie. At first Jessica was uncomfortable, but by the end of their relationship Jessica was dependent on Helen.

Beautiful, beautiful movie!!
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A Risky Plot That Plays Beautifully-A Glorious Winner
Ralph Michael Stein16 March 2002
The mantra of the successful and single career woman in New York City, and undoubtedly elsewhere, seems to have evolved to "All the good men are either married or gay." But still, through singles ads and avocation-based meeting places and just hope they persevere. Few decide that answering an ad in The Village Voice placed by a lesbian or bisexual woman is an antidote to the scarce-available-man dilemma.

That's just what copy editor and hopeful painter "Jessica" (Jennifer Westfeldt) does in "Kissing Jessica Stein" leading to an awkward first encounter, then a close friendship and ultimately an intimate relationship with a stunning, smart and funny art gallery manager, "Helen" (Heather Jurgenson). The film tracks their relationships with each other and with the people in their lives - family, friends, co-workers.

The story could easily have sunk to the level of a zany, fluffy, sex comedy or, perhaps, strived to be a "message" drama. It does neither. What makes it wonderful is that all the characters have whole lives which they live in confusion and compassion, pathos and passion. Superficially, they are familiar Manhattan, affluent stereotypes. In reality, they have all the longings and frailties - and strengths - of people everywhere. The character development is real and affecting without being cloy, cynicism is at a minimum. Helen and Jessica haven't stepped out of a Woody Allen take on Manhattan life.

Is Jessica really coming out for life as a lesbian or is she trolling in unfamiliar waters out of desperation for a friendship that includes intimacy? Has Helen given up myriad lovers of both sexes to settle into a domesticated gay relationship? Are the answers there? Should they be?

If a Lifetime Achievement Oscar for portraying the Jewish mother-in-law is ever awarded Tovah Feldshuh will get it. In this film she hovers dangerously close to a familiar caricature while projecting a warmth and wisdom deeper than the conventional portrait of the hectoring, always worried Jewish mom. The opening scene at a Day of Atonement synagogue service is priceless.

"Kissing Jessica Stein" is an Indie production based on the two leading actresses' collaboration in writing "Lipstick," their 1997 play. These are two very smart and insightful women: I hope more comes from their fertile and caring understanding of human, not just female but human, needs.

This film is very New York with scenes from a number of neighborhoods. I have mixed feelings about the post-11 September premiere decision to delete shots of the World Trade Center and replace them with the midtown skyline. A reviewer noted that audiences at the premiere were distracted by the WTC-dominated panoramas.

In a largely full theater with a number of clearly lesbian couples along with many more single people and (probably) heterosexual couples it was really nice to be part of an audience that burst into frequent laughter not based on sexual orientation but rather together as people enjoying a really clever, funny-and-serious, good film.
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A rare find in romantic comedy
MJStylo30 March 2006
I don't know how any one could reduce the characters in this film to, 'shallow' or 'board'. This was a rare film in the romantic comedy genre which didn't follow the tired old formulas. Yet it still has a classic feel to it (great music and a beautiful aesthetic). It is a story about the validity of sexual experimentation. Some people may feel like we are born one way or the other and if we are unsure, or perhaps want to experiment then we are 'stupid' or 'frivoulous' those assumptions are what this movie is trying to combat. It isn't about being gay or straight, it's about opening up yourself to possibilities whether they are fruitful in the end or not, the experience alone can make you a better, more compassionate person, who knows what it is to be honestly seeking happiness in whatever form it may come. Bravo to the two writers and actresses in this film, it is one of the rare film's that I have enjoyed from start to finish and one that I can watch over and over and continually take joy in.

I believe no movie is right for everyone, some people won't take from this film what I have. I recommend this film mainly to women from 18 to 35, straight, gay or bi. Men don't seem to be able to connect to this film on the level that women seem to, also it's politics and presumptions may be too radical for conservatives and too conservative for radicals. If you didn't like it that's okay, but its themes will speak to many people. Well written, acted, and directed.
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Brilliant Acting, Sharp Writing, Funny and Touching
AMcElvain22 April 2001
This film had something for everyone: a loving view into a Jewish family, including religious practices we rarely get to see on screen; a relationship between two women who are trying to find the right someone who "gets" them; and having the courage to go after the things you want the most. Scott Cohen is gorgeous and appealing as Josh Meyer, Jessica Stein's boss, ex-boyfriend and friend of her brother. He convincingly moves from bitter and judgmental through his own emotional journey when he sees Jessica summon the courage to be happy and seek her dreams. He sings beautifully in Hebrew, too!

Tovah Feldshuh was brilliant and touching as the Jewish mother with a true understanding of her daughter. No caricature here: she has one of the most touching scenes in the entire film. Jackie Hoffman was fun and funny as Jessica's best friend and coworker Joan, who lives vicariously through Jessica and Helen's adventures.

Jennifer Westfeldt (Jessica Stein) and Heather Juergensen (Helen Cooper) wrote, produced and starred in this wonderful, touching, funny view of single life in New York today. In fact, New York itself was a character in this film, providing both opportunities and barriers to the relationships among the characters. I highly recommend it!
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Funny, smart, fun (SPOILER)
ehunyadi29 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I really enjoyed this movie, although I was a bit let down when they broke up. However, I think that made it more believable, so I forgive the writers for that. Both are beautiful, both are good actors, and I can't wait for my wife to see this one: it's not your run-of-the-mill romance movie. It IS, however, a very well done romance movie, and with some very touching moments (Jennifer's mom talking to her on the porch recognizing Helen's role). The dialog reminded me of some of Kevin Smith's best (Chasing Amy) as it was witty and quick. Jennifer's character could be a bit annoying at times, but her innocence more than makes up for it. Helen is just downright SEXY! I actually dreamt of her after watching this movie... she is THAT captivating!

I will see this one again, and I recommend it to everyone I know.
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"Kissing Jessica Stein" is the best kind of romantic comedy
napierslogs22 June 2010
At the beginning of "Kissing Jessica Stein" we meet Jessica (Jennifer Westfeldt) sitting in synagogue between her mother and grandmother discussing the lack of Jessica's love life. Jessica interrupts and says "Shut up mother, I'm atoning." This sums up and sets the tone for the greatness of this film - Jessica is authentic and very funny.

I connected instantly with Jessica as I am sure many single or recently single women can (and I'm not even Jewish). I usually hate making film comparisons to Woody Allen because a)its being done way too often and b)its just not Woody Allen who is still making great films for us. But in this case, part of my connection to Jessica is that writer and star Jennifer Westfeldt, like me, has probably seen "Annie Hall" one hundred times, and a great deal of Diane Keaton's Annie shines through in Jessica.

"Kissing Jessica Stein" is a romantic comedy about a girl who basically just doesn't know what she wants, but its better than that statement. The film is very well written and very funny. The relationships explored are real and three-dimensional and every element that moves the story forward is done with subtlety and humour. There is one mistake in the writing, and the writers make it obvious that they are writers, but it doesn't matter because the film is just that good. When they start getting too far from the audience with a character philosophizing about his current stance in life, they pull us right back in with a great line "You got dark." It also helps that Westfeldt is married to Jon Hamm and is friends with some of the best comedians in the business.

After you finish watching "Kissing Jessica Stein" (which, believe me, you have to), find Westfeldt's next foray into her version of romantic comedies "Ira and Abby" (2006). Oh, and if for some reason you haven't yet, see Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" (1977) first.
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Amazing film
rlmarquardt3 July 2009
I've never been bothered by the fact that they were never nude. In my opinion, the film is not at all about sex, it's about growth and relationships. It's Jessica Stein's realization that she is the only reason she is unhappy; she has an image in her mind of what "should" make her happy, and this film is the story of her letting go of that and taking a risk that maybe something completely different could make her happy. It's a movie about growing, not about sex.

If you haven't seen it, you should. Movies have played an important role in my life and I would say hands down, this is my favorite.

That's all I was going to write, but apparently you have to write at least 10 lines. I first saw this movie when I was in college and was having that whole crisis of, "What am I supposed to be doing? How do I get to the house with the 2.5 kids and white picket fence?" This movie helped me realize that you can't live your life planning for the future all the time. Find the thing that makes you happy and hold on to it. Now, five or so years later, I'm happier than I ever have been, living a very fulfilling life that I'd never imagined for myself. I'm starting a film production company that I hope will someday make films like this one.
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When it comes to love, sometimes she just can't think straight.
Jessica Carvalho19 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Jessica Stein is a beautiful Jewish journalist who always have problems with love. She is an intellectual who hates people who are superficial, and always get disappointed because she is much more intelligent or interesting than the regular guys she goes out in date. For her bad luck, her brother is getting engaged and her mother is making pressure on her to have a serious relationship with someone.

And there is Helen, a sexy artist who always go out in dates with many different men (many of them at the same time) and decides to experiment something new: women. With the help of her two gay friends, Helen writes a type of an advertising in the lesbian sector of the Journal. Jessica is attracted to Helen's ad,specially because it mentions one of her favorite writers, and also because she is a little tired to not have any lucky with men.

Now on, what we see are hilarious situations with the shy and reluctant Jessica to accept to be with Helen, who in the other hand is crazy for the commitment.
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Smart Romantic Comedy
x240505 April 2002
Kissing Jessica Stein is the smartest romantic comedy that I've seen post 1990. The writing is funny and witty. Also, the characters are genuine. I especially enjoyed watching the chemistry between Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen. You don't need to read more comments from more people; just go out and see this movie. Heck, see it again; it's like reading a book for the second time (like I said, it's smart and witty). You too can see why I call KJS a very smart romantic comedy.
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Female Woody Allen
Edu-1610 August 2004
Ive used 'marinade' as a verb - so I was bound to like this one.

Highly enjoyable, honest, witty and refreshing. As good a movie as gets made these days. Finally a film driven by likable, intelligent characters and their relationships, not guns, explosions and two dimensional stereotypes and plots by (and for) 8 years olds.

KJS has a dash of fantasy from time to time, a cracking sound track, and although I wouldnt have called it a comedy - it's funny when it needs to be. But I think it was the honesty of the writing that I particularly took to - that and the moments that surprise. As many have noted - the scene with the mother on the veranda is a bit special.

If you like Woody Allen then this is one for you. If you look forward to the next Van Diesel effort, then I doubt you will stay beyond the credits...

ps Was the dedication 'For our parents' at the end of the film ironic? Watching this film with your parents could quite possibly be the single most embarrassing experience of your life.....if they are anything like mine that is....
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The better title would be: How Helen found the real herself thanks to the obnoxious Jessica Stein
sgtGiggsy25 July 2014
(It's a pretty long title though)

I start with the most important part. This movie is boring. I wouldn't really call it romantic, much less a comedy. The story is basically about a careerist woman, who's looking for the perfect man, but meet only assholes, and finally in one of her weakest moments she answers of a woman's advert. Then of course they miraculously get together (calm down, it's the basic plot, not spoiler), and the movie goes from boring to even more boring. Actually the biggest problem with the movie isn't the plot, that's rather a cliché (I mean if we put apart the lesbian love thing) but we don't expect real deepness of a romantic comedy. The biggest problem is the main character, Jessica herself. She literally doesn't have anything interesting about her. She's good looking, but she's neither nice, nor witty, and not even socially awkward enough to be funny. I would call here average, but luckily I don't know any women who is as boring, annoying and self centered in the same time as her. The other main character, Helen is way much better. She's full of life, adventurous, and always searching for the bright side in everything. She's exactly the type of women you'd happily have as either a girlfriend, or as a friend. While I was watching the movie I wondered the whole time, what on the Earth does she sees in Jessica. Because even though it should be a romantic movie, we can't really see what causes the attraction between them, they are just put together without any explanation. There isn't real chemistry between them, they just meet, then after five minutes (of movie, by the plot it's a little longer time, maybe few hours) BANG they are in love. After they got together, the comedy is got even less part, than in the beginning, and the movie shifts to some drama, but since Jessica is almost unlikeable, it's really hard to feel her struggle with her feelings, and family and stuff. At least she would show some character development during the movie, but she stays the same obnoxious careerist as she was in the beginning. The movie has one more interesting character besides Helen, Josh, who is Jessica's boss. A burnt-out ex-writer who acts like an asshole, but it's clear from the beginning that's more behind his misanthropism. The funniest moments of the movie mostly consist him, since he honestly says what he thinks. His analysis about Jessica in the twentieth minute of the movie stays true the whole time.

I'm sure the only thing that causes it to have such a high rating, is because it's not a straight love story, subsequently some people rate the idea behind it, not the finished product. And that's a mistake. There is a need for movies with this theme, but not movies that are presented so poorly as this is. Believe me if Helen was a guy, it would be rated at 5 points tops, and that would be its real value.

Either looking for a comedy, a heart touching love story, or a deep drama with good characters in the center, this movie is not for you. But if you enjoy to watch the struggle of a self centered women, who has everything, yet acts like her life was as hard as a Siberian shepard's, then this is your best choice.
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Daring and original portrayal of romance
The_Void5 September 2004
This movie is often described as 'When Sally met Sally...', and that is an accurate portrayal of what this movie is. It's a love story like any other, but this story is different. We have the normal 'two people meet and fall in love' scenario, but the difference here is that these two characters are the same sex, and that's what sets the film apart from it's counterparts. The central character is the lady from the title; Jessica Stein. Jessica is caught in a New York metropolis; populated by shallow people, people that are more interested in setting dates up with their friends and learning the dictionary cover to cover than they are in forming proper relations with people. This is the reason that Jessica can't find herself a man, she isn't happy to settle for second best and she wants more from a relationship than any man she knows can give her. So, after being told why she can't find herself a man by her big-headed colleague, Josh Myers; Jessica decides to step outside of her box a little and answers an ad in the 'women seeking women' section of the newspaper.

Enter Helen Cooper; the lady that placed the ad, and seasoned bi-sexual. She's sexy, quirky, funny and all together lovable; as Jessica says at one point; "Who wouldn't want to have sex with you?", and that is my thoughts entirely. At first, Jessica is cautious, she is predominantly straight at the end of the day and she's in over her head at first. However, the two hit it off almost immediately, and we get to watch their romance blossom. The fact that lesbianism (or homosexuality in general) is taboo is always apparent throughout this film. Helen is more of a free spirit, and the only friends of hers that we see are gay anyway, so she is always open about it. It's not the same story for Jessica, however; she's always been straight, so being open about such a relationship isn't so easy for her. That's the second half of this story; not only is it a comedy; it's also a social commentary, and it rings true not just for this subject; but just about anything that people do that isn't of the norm.

The two leads are played very well by Jennifer Westfeldt (Jessica) and Heather Juergensen (Helen). These two not only do the acting, but they also wrote the film. It is evident that women wrote it, as it has a very feminine feel throughout. There is no sex in the movie, which might disappoint some viewers and instead the movie focuses on the relationship between the women and the impact that it has on their lives. This is a very good thing, as what could have been lost in a myriad of nudity and sexual innuendo, actually comes off as a very personal study of a taboo relationship. The film is also very funny. The humour on offer isn't overly blatant, and is mostly very dry; but it's definitely there and certain moments of the film literally had me in stitches.

Despite all that I've so far, however; this movie isn't perfect. The character of Jessica, although obviously born of the social-conscious New York atmosphere, and therefore it is to be expected, sometimes goes over the top and can come across as being very annoying. Aside from that, the film features far too much music. It's practically saturated in it, and it's always that sad women's elevator music that I hate. The film also loses steam in it's third act, and never regains the humour and pace of the first two. Like (too) many romance films, Kissing Jessica Stein features an ambiguous ending. Call me old fashioned, but I like a film to end properly and therefore I don't like ambiguous endings, so that was a turn-off for me. However, Kissing Jessica Stein is an underrated gem and is most definitely romantic comedy at the top of it's game. See it, you won't regret it.
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Stylish and witty
penseur11 March 2004
I first saw this at the 2002 Wellington film festival and it didn't make a lot of impact then, but watching it again on cable impressed just how well written it is, and the lead character Jessica Stein is so delightfully played. None of the characters are too goofy or silly, something which spoils many American comedies. "Sex and the City" must have been an influence on the scriptwriters/lead actresses but this is different, and the lesbian (or more correctly bi-sexual) theme makes a refreshing change from the usual, and should appeal to straight men as much as bi's (in fact the reasons why this should be the case are addressed directly in a scene in a bar). In all it's very well done.
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Nothing special but still quite sweet
bob the moo11 December 2005
Jessica is Jewish, uptight, slightly neurotic and single. Everyone around her is married, dating, pregnant or something and she has to take grief from her family who want to see her "happy". Try as she might she can't find a guy that she likes enough to see twice. So when she sees an advertising from a woman looking for company she strangely finds herself responding and turning up to meet the bisexual Helen. The easy chat they have overcomes Jessica repulsion at the whole idea and soon they have become more than just friends. However can Jessica accept the truth herself far less be honest with others.

This is a strange mix of a film that mostly does enough to work. In some ways it seems to be a quirky independent film but in many ways it is just an OK mainstream comedy. Jessica herself seems to be a strange mix between the neurotic side of Woody Allen, the quirky side of Ally McBeal and the female side of Bridget Jones. It is a strange mix but it more or less works as a piece of entertainment even if it isn't as sassy and fresh as it thinks it is. The relationship between Jessica and Helen is delivered in a pacey fashion that doesn't quite ring true due to the lack of depth to it but it does enough to keep things moving along. Laughs are not that common but the general amusing air carries it along and, although the romance is basic and the characters thin, they it is easy viewing and they still engage if you are in an undemanding mood.

Westfeldt overplays her neurotic character a little bit but she just manages to keep her convincing. She has an easy chemistry with Lake which really helps cover up the lacking material they both have to deal with; it helps that they wrote it and were probably very in touch with what they were trying to do, even if they didn't necessarily do what they could have done. The rest of the cast pretty much match them in turning in workable but unspectacular performances – not their failing but more to do with the fact that the script is breezy and light and not something a lot of depth can be brought out of. Herman-Wurmfeld's direction matches the light material and keeps it breezy.

Overall this is a pretty sweet little film although not as fresh and fun as it thinks it is. The two leads could have done more as writers but they do have a good feel for the material and their performances help cover the material. Not many laughs or insights but it is consistently amusing and nice enough to be worth watching if you are looking for something undemanding.
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Girls, take your clothes off when having sex!
vyto3424 May 2003
What is the point of a prudish movie about sex? The girls are constantly in bed, but never take their clothes off. Why do we still have such rubbish in the 21st century? But, of course, the movie is not of the 21st century, it is stuck in cliche-land of many decades past. Even apart from the fundamental botching of the presentation of sex, the film is trite and unoriginal. Much of it comes across as an old-fashioned travelogue for the hicks about visiting New York.
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Irritating and Insulting
sophia220618 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Jessica is bored and unable to chose a man who is worthy of her opinion of herself. She answers an ad placed by a woman who uses a quote she likes?!? Boom she's gay?

Her putative lover Helen makes a series of trashy choices to let us know she's open to having a girlfriend as we meet her having a turn with her trans-racial (male) lover while her nebbishy married (male) lover stews a few steps away and the entire gallery full of people where this is taking place KNOW exactly what is going on. And no one seems to question her antics at her place of employment. Not only is this unsavory (although her boss and friend a gay man is obviously supposed to accept and condone this behavior) but unlikely post-Aids. Not to mention this is supposed to be a woman who would wait a month for Jessica to decide to sleep with her?

(Spoiler) In the end Helen catches "gay" like she catches her cold. Jessica and Helen do no work on this "relationship" after moving in together and Jessica it turns out was just waiting for her perfect man to be "artsy" enough for her and return to writing. (End Spoiler)

The always note perfect Tovah Feldshuh is wasted as Jessica's loving mother. Re-watch Desert Hearts if you want to see a romantic Lesbian movie and forget this dreck.
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Singular point of the movie (SPOILER)
grant_floyd15 July 2002
Warning: Spoilers

The simple message of this movie is nothing to do with lesbian or sexual preferences but that by taking a chance with a socially dangerous love. Hence Josh and Jessica were released from the creative insomnia they had been gripped by. Josh by seeing Jessica attempt something, and Jessica by accepting that her 'prefect or nothing' intellectual approach was hurting her emotionally. Possibly both were released by the art gallery director Helen's openness(?). This is a nice point and something more subtle and powerful than the very bland overarching sexual relationship in the movie.
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Lumpenprole3 April 2002
Did I miss something or is this a movie about a person so shallow and frivolous that she can't even what varieties of sex turn her on? It seems that it boils down to what lifestyle can be properly accessorized. It's like lesbianism seen through the eyes of old marketing guys.

The whole movie had a creepy Lifetime TV/'Friends' vibe. Awful cliches like the New York skyline at night panned along with classic jazz and the succession-of-lame-dates-at-the-door-cam are dredged up. The dorky old self-discovery-through-dating plot is given a prime time twist. Lastly, it's a little jarring to hear all that literary pretense being thrown around in a work that is so pedestrian in its dialogue, visuals and storytelling. (The vaguely ethnic, vaguely bohemian, vaguely daring lesbian character could be replaced by any sort of `edgy' male and the one distinct element of this movie would evaporate.)
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My favorite NYC movie this side of Annie Hall
artibeus-jamaicensis12 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When I first went to see this movie I could not laugh, I was in the shadow of the fallen Twin Towers. Then we got the DVD, just before an impending move to the Desert Southwest. Boy, was I impressed. The movie is hilarious, granted, half the jokes bite hard when you're a Manhattanite and may not play well west of the Hudson, but it's definitely the best romantic comedy of the last two decades. In exile, I watched the movie so many times, absorbing the Upper West Side neighborhood that was my home, and ended up lip-syncing the dialogue (including the deleted scenes and sometimes the actresses' commentary). They got the pace right, their relationship, like a shark, never stops moving. It's really refreshing to see someone actually grow up out of the relationship, instead of dissolving into mush. Bottom line, the characters could be our friends, and our New York friends sometimes (all the time?) sound like the characters.

PS/ Half of us would like them to be together, the other half thinks "that's life, and as long as they're happy..."
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An enjoyable, yet flawed film
FilmOtaku20 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
After having several people recommend this movie to me, I finally decided to give it a try when I saw it on cable. I'm glad that I did, but I definitely found fault in some areas. The film is about Jessica Stein, a woman who is fed up with the dating scene and therefore decides to reluctantly approach a relationship with another woman, Heather, after reading her personal ad in the paper.

*Possible Spoilers*

This is another in a series of films where the characters are impossibly beautiful, smart and charming but cannot find anyone suitable to date. Admittedly, an excuse is made for Jessica in that she is a perfectionist and therefore cannot be happy until she `lets loose a little.' She also has an incredible apartment and the corresponding accoutrements that go along with having a fabulous existence in New York. I bring these material details up because they are just the beginning of several circumstances that just seem to happen too quickly and easily. The most glaring is when Jessica's mother just happens to know that she is dating a woman, and in the very next scene, Jessica's brother's wedding, suddenly the entire party is abuzz with this news and sitting around the table adoringly asking questions of `the lesbians'. Realizing that this is supposed to be a comedy, I tried not to look too deeply into this, but I felt about as put off by this display as I did by the entire film `Chasing Amy', only this time the lesbian was not `reformed' - it is hinted that Jessica may not indeed be a lesbian at all.

Having said these things, I did enjoy the film on some levels. I thought the acting was very natural and the dialogue was generally clever. I also think the filmmakers were right in not having a lot of character development because the basis of the movie was this one relationship, and therefore any expansion of supporting characters would have been unnecessary. I also like the evolution of Jessica's character, one who starts out like a 21st century Annie Hall and ends up being more comfortable in her own skin despite the fact that everything doesn't work out as one may expect. I found the ending to be very satisfactory because it cemented the conclusions that I came to earlier in the film - which is a welcome surprise because it usually does not end up that way for me; I am usually disappointed when things are wrapped up too neatly.

I know that this film was largely embraced by the gay community, and while I can understand that, despite its independent production, the relationship was very much `Hollywood-ized' in my opinion. However, having `marinated' the film, it is quite clear to me that it was not just about being a lesbian, but more in `finding oneself', as cliché as that term is. Overall, I consider it to be an enjoyable film as long as you do not turn too critical an eye to it.

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So Cute!!!
missygoldstein26 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS**Such a sweet story, not tackling any sort of political issues of gay/straight/lesbian... It was really the story of a woman fed up with trying to find Mr. Right so she ends up finding the love of her life with the most unexpected person, a woman named Helen. The two lead characters which I was pleased to learn also wrote and directed the film were very charming and real. The performance by Jessica's mom was so honest and not at all the cliche overbearing "Jewish Mother". The scene towards the end with Jessica and her mom was so touching I cried. The movie was very funny. The soundtrack was great. I did feel however that there were certain issues that were completely left out. SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN DO NOT READ BELOW The end of the movie she revealed her relationship with Helen to her entire family on of all days the day of her brother's wedding. Now I know that her mother was a very kind, and loving woman, but the next scene depicted herself and the rest of the family all jumping to embrace Helen and Jessica's sexuality without so much as batting an eye. That scene to me was extremely unrealistic. In addition to that; this was apparently Helen's first relationship with any woman and she never revealed that to Jessica. I found that strange. She was obviously the wild, open girl, and I feel that should have been covered. Lastly I will say that although I found this to be a truly enjoyable film, I cannot believe that it was implied that after all that she would get together with "the guy". Am I supposed to believe that it was Helen who taught her how to love and experience being loved and as a result she wants to get together with her ex boyfriend? I'm not saying that she should seek out another woman, however I would have liked to see her get back with Helen as that was where she seemed to find her greatest happiness. The end seen reminded me exactly of "Chasing Amy", where Jessica looked much more loose with the curly hair and dishevled clothes pursuing her artistic dream, while bumping into Josh wearing a ripped shirt who now is pursuing his writing career. They are both in a "better place" now and can have a healthy relationship with one another? Puuleeze. Anyhow, that not withstanding, I thought it was a good, well written story, despite my comments.
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Kissing "Kissing Jessica Stein"
jlacerra22 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Thank God! Finally a witty, intelligent, well-acted, and well-written romantic comedy -- a watchable and lovable movie about real, believable people. I loved the banter about the proper use of words - indicating that there are people somewhere that give a damn about such things.

Yes, KJS is a movie about a romantic relationship. But this time its girl-meets-girl. The whole thing is so deftly and lovingly done as to cut any sexual prejudices off at the knees. We WANT these two terrific ladies to get together!!!

Jennifer Westfeldt shines as the title character, an intelligent if neurotic copy editor fearing Jewish spinsterhood while going through the trials of the hit-and-miss singles scene. Tovah Feldshuh is masterful as the perennial Jewish mother, but has honed the character into a believable and compassionate parent. Scott Cohen is a suave Richard Lewis lookalike (sans most of that comic's frenetic self-psychoanalysis) as Jessica's boss and former flame, a would-be writer.

But in my book, Heather Juergensen steals the show as the self-assured Helen, the catalyst of the "forbidden" relationship. She turns in a natural and loving performance as an all-around trendy intellectual lady of the twenty-first century looking for fulfillment on risky ground.

This wonderful cast makes it really work. Or, as stated in the movie, it's "clicking". Well, it clicked with me. Congratulations to director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld for pulling all this together. A great picture and not a car chase or shooting to be found!


The movie has you chuckling or laughing out loud much of the time, and then suddenly trying to hold back the tears when Helen learns she is not invited to (or even informed about) Jessica's brother's wedding, and then you just have to let them loose when Jessica and her Mom sit on the porch and Feldshuh nurtures her daughter with insightful understanding and love. My God, why haven't we seen more of these people?

Two Thumbs Way, Way Up!!!
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