Mr. Jealousy

A giant step forward for writer-director Noah Baumbach, this bittersweet romantic comedy treats the subject of male vanity and self-absorption with considerably less indulgence than his smug and inexplicably lauded debut, KICKING AND SCREAMING. While Baumbach's obvious models are rueful French nouvelle vague romances like JULES ET JIM, his shallow touch...read more

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A giant step forward for writer-director Noah Baumbach, this bittersweet romantic comedy treats the subject of male vanity and self-absorption with considerably less indulgence than his smug and inexplicably lauded debut, KICKING AND SCREAMING. While Baumbach's obvious models are rueful French nouvelle vague romances like JULES ET JIM, his shallow touch keeps this new film rooted firmly in the tradition of Woody Allen's neurotic comedies. Lester Grimm (Eric Stoltz) is an aspiring writer who poisons relationships by obsessing about his

girlfriends' exes. No sooner has he taken up with Ramona (Annabella Sciorra) than he's brooding about her old boyfriend Dashiell Frank (Chris Eigeman), a successful writer (double envy!) hailed by critics as "the voice of his generation." Lester follows Dashiell into group therapy

under an assumed name, that of his own soon-to-be married buddy Vince (Carlos Jacott), and while airing Vince's psychological dirty laundry (after all, Vince might as well get some professional advice out of the ruse) unexpectedly finds himself growing to like the prickly Dashiell. Baumbach is

onto something unnerving in the way the identities of Vince, Lester and Dashiell keep oozing into one another, as though they were all fragmented aspects of one disordered model of maleness. That said, he keeps reminding us that it's all just in fun, mostly through self-conscious voice-over

narration that captures the tone (if not the substance) of those late '60s smut movies that justified prurience in terms of examining "bedroom problems." On the minus side, the cutesy character names are unbearable, Baumbach's use of director Peter Bogdanovich in the role of Dr. Poke is stunt

casting at its least meaningful and the movie marquee showcasing the name of Baumbach's mom, former Village Voice film critic Georgia Brown (lauding a film by John Ford, Bogdanovich's idol), is just plain smarmy.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A giant step forward for writer-director Noah Baumbach, this bittersweet romantic comedy treats the subject of male vanity and self-absorption with considerably less indulgence than his smug and inexplicably lauded debut, KICKING AND SCREAMING. While Baumb… (more)

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