Jake Singer is at loose ends in New York City, and neck deep in psychoanalysis with the outrageous Dr. Morales, when he meets the enigmatic and beautiful widow Allegra Marshall.Jake Singer is at loose ends in New York City, and neck deep in psychoanalysis with the outrageous Dr. Morales, when he meets the enigmatic and beautiful widow Allegra Marshall.Jake Singer is at loose ends in New York City, and neck deep in psychoanalysis with the outrageous Dr. Morales, when he meets the enigmatic and beautiful widow Allegra Marshall.
imaginary interventions by his extraordinarily aggressive and ribald therapist at dramatic junctures during his day.
While the leading character, Jake, has experienced a romantic disappointment in an earlier relationship, the main thrust of his therapy seems directed at a battle against mediocrity. Apparently, a
career as a high school teacher does not count as success. Apparently also, the elderly therapist considers a year without sex a major red flag. Apart from these shortcomings, Jake seems to conduct himself cautiously but extremely well, leaving me wondering about the correctness of his mediocrity.
This film does a good job of representing older people, for example the therapist and Jake's father, as well as others, as something else besides useless. Here they are accepted enough to assert themselves, their intelligence is respected and occasionally heeded.
The plot held my attention through its twists and turns. Two points I felt were a lapse into hackneyed stereotypes involved the feminism of his lover, Allegra. To begin with, she initiates the first sex (even though things seemed to be proceeding along nicely) and routinely assumes the aggressive role after that as well. I questioned whether this would really be cool in real life. I suppose this could be taken as the otherwise lacking evidence of his neurosis by accepting it except that it is all her actions.
Secondly, after they have had frequent and mutually gratifying sex, get along great, he well on his way to being accepted by her two children, and to cap it all off she is about to lose custody of her young daughter because the adoption stipulated a two-parent household-- with all this in play she rejects his heartfelt proposal of marriage because she is 'not ready' just a year after becoming a widow. These two facts might suggest that she, a rich woman, was using him as a convenience. However, the rest of her character as portrayed does not support that at all. Instead the flick is merely waving a PC flag of liberated woman-- even when it is absurd-- to garner brownie points.
Ultimately however, all such complexity of living is suddenly swept away in a traditional happily-ever-after romantic ending--but one so hasty that I definitely felt they were running out of film. I don't want to sound like I would entirely re-engineer the film, but I definitely felt it was going somewhere else.
But these are lapses in authenticity in a film notable for authenticity. It is an engaging and often quite funny flick.
- May 4, 2008