User Reviews (25)

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  • bsinc27 April 2002
    I truly wish I could have seen this movie a couple of years ago, I probably would have enjoyed it even more then. But still, at the age of 20 I find it to be very amusing and entertaining. It's one of those growing up movies you liked when you were 10, but is still great when you watch it as an adult. The story is funny and the characters evenly so, and the good acting is what binds this movie together. Jason Alexander shows us he is not only one of the funniest actors around, he can also direct, and as far as this movie is concerned he does it surprisingly well.

    A bit of nostalgia I suppose. 7/10
  • I stumbled upon this film on IFC, had nothing better to do, so I sat & watched. I found myself thoroughly enjoying this movie! The kids are real kids, speaking the way kids speak. Ryan Merriman plays Lenny so well, and I loved Amy Braverman's Alice character. I felt, watching her, like I was watching myself at that age, and was rooting for her & Lenny to kiss...and was not disappointed! Catch it if you can!
  • =G=22 January 2002
    Alexander and Karp hit a home run with this sweetly sentimental little slice-of-life flick about a Bronx boy in the 50's when his hormones have kicked in and he finds himself preoccupied with sex. Merriman makes a solid centerpiece among some fine character actors and the much under-rated Gretchen Mol as our little hero learns lessons about life, love and...yeah, sex too. A cute, fun, and earnest little romp for anyone who can harken back to when sex was just one big question mark.
  • I have just returned home from the Dallas premiere of this movie. We were lucky enough to have both the director, Jason Alexander and the writer, Marshall Kemp in attendance. They also stuck around for Q&A afterwards. Mr. Alexander said he was attracted to the movie because "it made sense" to him. I think the point is that this story hits home because we all went through the stage of total preoccupation with the curious theory of sex. We knew it was there ... we just couldn't quite get a grip (so to speak) on what it was all about. Lenny, brilliantly played by Ryan Merriman, is on a personal mission to be sex-educated. His "object" of desire is Hedy, a former bra model. Gretchen Mol left me breathless its this role that makes the film click. She will steal your heart, just as she does Lenny's. Other excellent performances come from Peter Onorati as Uncle Phil and veteran actress Patti Lupone as Lenny's widowed mother. Lenny's step-father is a good-hearted, fat butcher played by Rich Licata, who according to Jason Alexander is a real-life personal injury attorney. My tidbit of info involves Gretchen Mol's doctor boyfriend who is played by John Bolger, the Great Nephew of Ray Bolger - the scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz". Mr. Kemp's tremendously insightful script shows us that Lenny's greatest education comes not from a book, but from realizing that life is made to be lived passionately with others. Sex is fine, but true love and trust are the ultimate goals. I trust this film finds an audience.
  • Although there have been countless films on teenage yearnings and lust, occasionally a little gem crops up. Just Looking is one such film, a gentle but frank script with the occasional comic one liners thrown in is a harmless and entertaining film with a feel good ending.
  • jean_moore26 October 2000
    I was not expecting much from this movie because it took so long to be released and Jason Alexander, while making the rounds of the talk shows, kept talking about the limited release status. It was playing in only one theater in Orange County and stayed for just a week. I went because one of my favorite actors was in it and was pleasantly surprised. It's a very funny, nostalgic movie and was very enjoyable.
  • In the 50s, in Bronx, Lenny Levine (Ryan Merriman) is a Jewish teenager trying to discover sex, being quite obsessed by sex in a naive way. He does not like his stepfather and misses his father, who died a couple of years ago. After trying to see his stepfather having sex with his mother Sylvia Levine Polinsky (Patti LuPone), he is sent to Brooklyn to spend his summer vacation with his pregnant aunt Norma de Lorenzo (Ilana Levine) and his Italian uncle Phil de Lorenzo (Peter Onorati). He likes his uncle Phil and becomes friend of a boy and two girls of his age, who have a "sex club", and Alice, the most experienced of the group, explains subjects related to sex to the others. Later, Lenny has a crush on the nurse Hedy Coletti (Gretchen Mol), a former model. Along his vacation, the reality about the relationship of his father and his mother is disclosed to Lenny, while he learns many topics about sex, reaching the adolescence. "Just Looking" was a great surprise for me: the ridiculous Brazilian title ("The Indiscreet Lens") hides a delightful and nostalgic movie about reaching the adolescence in the 50s. In some moments, it slightly recalls the classic "Summer of 42". It is impossible not liking "Just Looking", which is sensitive, funny, with a magnificent screenplay and dialogs and excellent direction and performance of the cast. Indeed, it is a must-see movie, recommended for any audience. Gretchen Mol is amazingly beautiful in the role of Hedy, and Ryan Merriman and Amy Braverman are excellent in the roles of curious teenagers. I saw this movie on VHS, but today I am going to buy the DVD. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "A Lente Indiscreta" ("The Indiscreet Lens")
  • ...and somehow a relief from the modern teen comedies such as American pie, Road trip, Not another teen movie,...

    Maybe the acting is not on the level, like it was in The Bronx tale with Rober De Niro or so deep story as in My girl, but hey, at least in this movie kids are shown as they really are. At that age they would like to know everything about sex and here is it shown without a prejudice. I was quite surprised to see an American director to go that far, since Hollywood is so puritan, compared to European production. Well done.

    With a little more ambition, this movie would surely be more memorable (maybe with a stronger story and beside Gretchen Mole, some other famous actor).

    But despite that, the movie is quite enjoyable to watch it on the video and that's why a little above average grade of

    6 out of 10
  • It is refreshing to see a coming of age movie where the boys (and this time the girls) are not portrayed as village idiots. No bodily fluid or slap stick jokes. It is all believable and humorous to watch. Suspense without insult to the viewer's intelligence. I have watched it twice and will watch it again. I guess I can identify with the main character and his learning the facts of life from friends.
  • Stiggo24 October 1999
    Just saw this at a film festival, and it was one of the highlights of my weekend. This was a sweet, funny, sometimes touching film, well directed by Seinfeld vet Alexander. The story deals with a sex-starved 14-year old boy. But since it's set in 1955 and not 1999, all he wants is to see two people in the act. He thinks his plans are dashed when his widowed mother (Patti LuPone) and her new husband send him from the Bronx to his Aunt and Uncle's in the country (Queens). He lucks out to find a bra model (Gretchen Mol) living on his block. I won't give away the rest, but Ryan Merriman as the boy was great. When this opens, as it certainly should, get right out to it. It's the kind of film they just don't make enough of.
  • 'Just Looking' stars Ryan Merriman as a young boy whose curiosity about sex is growing exponentially. When his mom and stepdad send him to stay with relatives for the summer, he becomes determined to catch someone "in the act."

    The story itself is interesting; watching the lengths to which young "Lenny" (Merriman) goes to fulfill his curiosity is quite funny in and of itself. But there's also a dramatic aspect, a life lesson if you will. Through his exploits, Lenny learns about life and the responsibilities therein. Overall, not a bad effort and quite an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.
  • This is a cute movie. Lenny (Ryan Merriman) has a mission to see two people making love, and thinks his banishment to his Aunt's (Ilana Levine) in Queens will kill that dream.

    But his Aunt Norma and Uncle Phil (Peter Onorati) are cooler than he thought.

    He then meets three local teenagers: John (Joseph Franquinha), Alice (Amy Braverman), and Barbara (Allie Spiro-Winn), who have their own sex club to exchange information about this endlessly fascinating subject.

    Then he meets Hedy (Gretchen Mol), and she becomes the object of his mission.

    A great story about a teen coming of age.
  • This is Jason Alexander's second attempt at directing and its a pretty decent effort. Film is about a 14 year old Jewish boy named Lenny (Ryan Merriman) who lives in New York City in the 1950's and he lost his father a year earlier. His mother Sylvia (Patti Lupone) has remarried to a butcher named Polinsky (Rich Licata) and Lenny does not like him at all. Lenny is going through puberty and wants to see two people having sex. Sylvia and Polinsky decide to send him to her sisters home in Queens for the summer and Lenny agrees. He meets his aunt Norma (Ilana Levine) and his uncle Phil (Peter Onorati) and he runs a grocery store where Lenny will be helping out. Once in Queens he meets Marty (Alex Sobol) and they start hanging out together and Marty invites Lenny to be part of the sex club that he and two other girls (Amy Braverman and Allie Spiro Winn) are part of. The club just talks about sex. Also, Lenny meets a young nurse named Hedy (Gretchen Mol) who lives in the neighborhood and of course all the young boys are infatuated with her. Especially Lenny. The story and script really add nothing new that we haven't seen many times before and their were times during the film that the characters spoke lines that real people just don't say, especially by young and horny teenage males. But the performances are at worst earnest but some are very effective. The lead played by Merriman was crucial to the film and he carries it well. He's a good young actor that definitely has the screen presence to carry this coming of age story. But I also found Mol to be very good as Hedy. She's not a young sexpot or the typical older woman who's going to teach a young boy the lessons of life. Instead, her character comes across as just another young person coming from a broken home. Its a pretty tender performance and its the first one by Mol that has stayed in my memory. Alexander also does a fine job of creating the period of the 1950's with the cars, the haircuts and the clothes. It all comes across well and I don't remember one moment where a scene or a shot that looked staged. He creates the atmosphere of that era very well. Also, during the block party if you take a good look at the couples dancing you will see Alexander in disguise in a cameo! He's wearing a hat and has a beard so look quickly! The material is familiar and while its a little more raunchy than "Summer of '42" it doesn't go the exploitive route and if viewers decide to stick with it then they should see that this film definitely has heart. We've seen it before but I still think that this film can stand up on its own.
  • It's reminds me at my puberty time around twelve-thrirteen years old, when I coming for age, simply our sexuality explode at once, this was exactly happens with the boy Lenny Levine (Ryan Merriman) peeping his mother make sex with his stepfather, which he dislikes, afterward sent to a summer vacation at his aunt's house at Bronx on the fifties, there he meets a friend who introduces him at Sex's private club consisting in just two underage girls, there he learns a lot, find a dream's girl played by Gretchen Moll, well-craft story developed in every aspect of this age, comics book for adults, end up receiving a book from his stepfather that contains everything about sex, he becomes in a expert in this matter, valuable movie for all ages, without be appellative!!


    First watch: 2012 / How many: 2 / Source: DVD / Rating: 7.5
  • Every time I see this movie I think this is how the American Pie movies should have been made, you know with more substance and meaning, and definitely not those anti likable characters that those actors like Sean William Scott and Alyson Hannigan portray. The first half of the movie was Lenny Levine (a very cute young Ryan Merriman) trying to see to people "doing it" which although was very funny it didn't have much of an affect as the second half of the movie which he understands it inst all about sex as it is more about love. Ryan Merriman plays this role with such a delight, I couldn't imagine anyone else playing his character, he was very naughty but also very charming and lovable. Worth to watch and you'll instantly like the boys and girls as they will probably make you remember when you were as a child trying to learn about this things.
  • Just looking is one of the best in the genre of Coming of Age movies. The sometimes surprising turn of events keeps you guessing throughout this excellent little masterpiece. Superb casting and terrific acting makes the story very, very entertaining as well as educational. Both my wife and I enjoyed it very, very much. The characters are great and have our sympathies. Don't miss this one.

    After having seen this years ago on cable, we got it from Netflix and enjoyed it even more. The DVD version had some scenes we did not remember, possibly, the cable version was shortened. Besides the comedy there are plot strands that are serious and sad. For example the step-father step-son relationship is handled very well. The DVD includes bonus features, as well as the option of complete replay of the movie with commentary by the director, writer, and editor. When a movie is worth a second and a third viewing you know that it is very, very good.
  • Coming of age movies are pretty common in Hollywood, but as in most cases Hollywood style they tend to be badly done. This one is surprisingly good, directed by George Constanza himself, Jason Alexander. The movie gives you a good portrait of a kids becoming teenagers and reaching that point where they are curious about sex among other things.

    The main protagonist of the movie is Lenny Levine played by Ryan Merriman. As the movie begins he's going on his summer vacation from school and he's determined to see an actual act of 'love' before he returns the next fall. His main opportunity would be with his mom and her new husband. His first attempt failed and his step dad suspects what he's doing. For this he is banished from his home in the Bronx and sent to relatives in the 'country', Brooklyn.

    He thinks going to Brooklyn he'll have a better opportunity to witness sex because he can see his much more virile Uncle Phil have sex with his Aunt, except that she's pregnant. Lenny also meet up with a bunch of kids his age who has a sex club. Except instead of performing sex they just talk about sex and look at pictures of people having sex. His biggest opportunity to see a sexual act he realizes is with a pretty nurse from the neighborhood named Hedy Colletti (Gretchen Mol). In the end the first act Lenny witnesses is not what he expected and it shattered some of his belief but also bring forth a revelation.

    The movie is very honest in portraying how kids that age really have interests in sex. And for the most part it shows them to be clueless about it and in desperate need of guidance. It also show how idolizing and hero worshiping can sometimes lead to big heart breaks. Lenny idolized his Uncle Phil and sees him as someone he would like to be. Until one night when he sees something he never thought Phil would do. It was also of this event that he finally learned the truth about his father whom he also idolized.

    Also preconceptions can be shattered. He ends up spending sometime with Hedy and realizes she's not just a sexual object but a real person with a past that's not too different from his. But the biggest and best revelation is his stepfather who he thought was a creep. Instead he finds that the stepfather is really a nice guy who would never hurt his mother and would like to be friends with him. He even give Lenny a book that helps him guide through sexual maze that he was entering.

    All in all it's a sweet film that's very entertaining and that at the same time shows how young people are curious about sex and how misguided they really are. The first sex act that Lenny witnesses eventually leads him to realize that sex and love does not necessarily goes hand in hand. And that sex sometimes comes out of neediness more than true affection.
  • JUST LOOKING (2000) ** Ryan Merriman, Gretchen Mol, Patti LuPone, Peter Onorati, Ilana Levine, Richard V. Licata, Joseph Franquinha, Amy Braverman, Alllie Spiro-Winn, John Bolger. (Dir: Jason Alexander) I've always been nostalgic for the 1950s. I can't pinpoint it except maybe that everything back then seemed so innocent, happy, carefree and life was good. I guess it can be blamed for the idealistic interpretations of 'Happy Days' and 'American Grafitti' (although that film was circa 1962 but heavily loaded with '50s jukebox classics). It just never seemed…sexual.

    How naïve but in this look back at the decade of Ike, Elvis and The Korean Conflict, Jason Alexander (you know, The Artist Formerly Known As George Costanza of 'Seinfeld' fame) makes his big-screen directorial debut with this unlikely teen sex comedy … set in 1955 New York.

    Specifically in The Bronx focusing on protagonistic teenager budding for his first sexual awakening, Lenny Levine (newcomer and uncannily Tim Matheson lookalike Merriman) who has set his summer goal to watch a couple 'do it' no matter what it takes.

    But Lenny has his cards stacked against him when his well-meaning and overprotective Jewish mother Sylvia (LuPone) and her second husband, Polinsky (Licata), the portly butcher who Lenny hates vehemently ship him off to her pregnant sister Norma and her Italian-American husband Phil (Levine, 'Seinfeld' fans will remember as the 'ya gotta see the baby' loudmouth and Onorati, respectively) to stay at their house in Queens and work in Phil's delicatessen. Lenny is at first upset and figures his goal is ruined until he is befriended by co-worker and fellow pervert in training John (Franquinha) who informs the newcomer to the neighborhood that he's part of a 'sex club' which includes two girls, all-too knowing about the subject four-eyed Alice (Braverman) and yet-to-get-her-period Barbara (Spiro-Winn), who all become fast friends pursuing Lenny's quest.

    To make things even more interesting is the discovery of regular customer Hedy, (Mol finally doing some decent acting after being called the next big thing nearly three years ago and best known for her 'Vanity Fair' cover practically screaming just that!), a luscious young nurse who lives on the same street as John and has Lenny salivating with joy figuring she'd be the perfect opportunity to scout out.

    The whole premise sounds unsavory and unflattering and begins that way but midway through the storyline becomes sweet (at times a bit too much) but Alexander does a decent job by letting his actors room and character development to occur from making their stereotypical cookie cutter roles from becoming just that.

    Merriman is quite likable (yet gotta admit he starts out annoying) and his sequence of getting to know the neighborhood goddess Mol is nicely done and believeable that Mol's Hedy is just as vulnerable to kindness.

    Even with the heart the film suffers from some cloying parts and some obnoxious ones (the early obsession and talk of seeing sex in play which has a nice ironic turn at the film's climax you can see coming all along) however the least can be said is thankfully it's not another 'American Pie'; one is plenty.
  • When a sex crazed little boy is sent to another town for the summer he abandons his quest to see a couple 'doing it'. Thinking the entire summer will be a shambles the last thing he expected was to meet several other like minded youngsters. Thus began a summer of voyeurism and peeping tomism to be always remembered. Entertaining little flicker.
  • Ryan Merriman has to be one of the best underrated young actors out there! His biggest role came in Deep End of the Ocean with Michelle Pfeiffer in 1999...However, he has been in front of the camera since the age of 10. At 18, he is currently in australia filming yet another Disney Channel movie...Anyways....He is very underrated and I hope he breaks away from that made for tv movies circle and busts on the big screen more. He is truly excellent and can act better than some famous people now!

    Anyway...the movie is set in 1950's New York...A young jewish boy names Lenny (Merriman) is obessessed with seeing two people having sex. This becomes his mission over his summer break. After a failed attempt at seeing his parents, he is sent to Queens with his aunt and uncle. While in queens, he meets a group of kids his age who have a "sex club" where all they do it talk about sex because all are too afraid to actually do it. Lenny becomes smitten with his Relatives neighbor, a former bra model (gretchen mol), and sets his sights on seeing her and her doctor boyfriend bumping uglies....

    This movie was without a doubt a great piece of film making. Jason Alexander directs the cast very well, and all seem to be enjoying what they are doing. At times the movie does seem a little far fetched, butit is a movie..No one said it had to be perfect. It is worth renting, and buying...I do, however, feel that if it would have been released on the big screen for more than the 2 days and 2 theaters that it was...It would have been a total bomb....Still a good movie!

    8 out of 10
  • asfl1226 December 2000
    Just Looking was a wonderful film. It dealt with issues that kids go through each and everyday of their lives. These types of situatuions are hard to portray as a comedy, especially on screen. Each of the actors were good in his/her own way but the character that played Marty added humor and flavor to this already magical movie. Once again this is a must see.
  • markwolf27 September 2000
    Well, the coming-of-age picture has a new benchmark to meet. "Just Looking", directed by Jason Alexander and written by veteran scribe Marshall Karp, turns the genre upside down by pulling some familiar punches--but from places deeper in the heart. These mightier moments in Karp's script pay off with bigger surprises on the screen, consistently edgier, funnier, and altogether more satisfying than we'd expect in a comedy of this kind. A heroic ensemble cast including Peter Onorati, the ever "fetchin' Gretchen Mol, Amy Braverman, and a truly memorable Ryan Merriman make this quiet little independent picture one that continues to come up in conversation months after viewing.

    Expect the title and story description to peg "Just Looking" as a fun, date movie. Actually, there's no better place to hide such a delicious surprise. There's more here than just great storytelling, "Just Looking" is a gift. And it fits like it was made for us. It's really that good.
  • The first ten minutes of "Just Looking" really dictates the direction most of this movie takes. Lenny (Ryan Merriman) is a 14 year old boy living in New York in the '50s. He has a burning desire to see two people have sex. Who are the best people he has in mind? Well, his own mom and stepfather of course! How pleasant. Unfortunately for Lenny, he is caught before he sees anything and is sent away for the summer to stay with his uncle and his uncle's wife.

    Lenny's next plan is to see his uncle and his wife have sex. However, the wife is quite pregnant and they aren't currently sleeping together. Then Lenny makes a new friend. Him and his buddy spend most of their free time hanging around a couple of girls. They have a little club where all they do is sit around and talk about sex. The problem's not done in an innocent, charming 1950's sort of way. I am no prude by ANY means, but I found it rather disturbing listening to these kids talk about masturbation, blowjobs and anal sex. That kind of rawness may work in a movie like "Kids" (1995) but in this film it just seems perverted.

    Gretchen Mol is utterly wasted here as Hedy, a former bra model who becomes the object of Lenny's carnal desires. Jason Alexander needs to stay as far away from the director's chair as possible. "For Better Or Worse" (1996) was awful and now this. What a waste. 1/10
  • directed by Sienfeld's "George" this seems like a weak visit with that character at fourteen. The characters are all painted with a broad and boring brush. The plot is completely predictable and the lead character borders on being a pervert with his interest in watching his parents having sex. None of the situations were realistic, especially the idea of a "sex club" in his summer neighborhood. This "movie" seemed so saccharine it could have been shown of CBS.