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Intellectual House o' Pancakes Webdiary

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2008-02-27 - 1:40 p.m.

I watched Zoe Cassavetes's directorial debut, Broken English with moderate-to-high expectations. I figured that the daughter of John C. would be naturally inclined toward making a smart, realistic film, and I generally like Parker Posey.

So it didnít fail in those regards--Parker P. is great, the dialogue and situations are all very real: e.g., the typical New York first date at Film Forum, where the conversation awkwardly lopes along: "Yeah, so...I love this, yeah, this is one my favorites..." etc.

And of course, Cassavetes's mom Gena Rowlands is in it, and she can do no wrong.

I like that it's about a single woman in her thirties who can't seem to find a good guy to shack up with, but it's not a dopey "my biological clock is ticking, oh my gawd!" kinda flick, either.

But all that said, it's a little empty. The characters are neurotic and dour and unlikeable (Drea de Matteo's face is contorted into a hard, petulant mask for the duration of the movie, and it's more annoying than sympathetic) and they all live in really great Manhattan apartments--a deadly combination that instantly decreases my empathy level.

The characters do movie-character things, like stalking off a job in a dramatic huff, and then going to Paris to find the answers to their pressing upper-middle-class problems, which seems so incongruous with the emotional authenticity that the director invests in every other aspect of the film.

So, this was a good first try, but I think Cassavetes needs to work with a better script next time.

My favorite rapper name these days is Young Spiffy.

If one can't be jazzed, crunkified, and spiffy when one is in the full flower of youth, then I say that said spiffiness is entirely wasted!

Although it would be better if he looked like this.

Occasional IHOP commenter and frequent brother-in-law Eli Ganias will be seen on tonight's Law & Order. In his words, his character will be "yelling out the docket numbers of two cases at the top of the 'Order' section." Go, Eli.

No word on whether his character is dour, unlikeable, or lives in a fantastic, light-filled apartment.

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