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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
They don't make em like this anymore, but they should
If, like me, you've bemoaned the lack of character-based, pathos-filled, and genuinely laugh-out-loud funny relationship comedies lately, then Putzel will come as a welcome breath of whitefish and lox-scented air. With all the bite and heart of the best Billy Wilder movies, director Jason Chaet tells a story of dysfunctional romance and blighted dreams, set entirely within the delivery radius of an old-school, family-owned Manhattan deli. The stakes have never been higher for Walter "Putzel" Himmelstein as he gamely attempts to manage an uncertain future, a wildly egotistical uncle, an irrational phobia, and a deli counter, which all finally comes into focus for him when a ballet and fish-loving shiksa goddess played by the always great Melanie Lynskey plies (plee-ayys?) into his life. There's bona fide laughter and tears here, and it all comes in a witty, Manischewitz-soaked punch.
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