Daily Archives: June 8, 1998

Mr. Jealousy

Writer-director Noah Baumbach’s second feature (after Kicking and Screaming) has about as much romantic charm and wit as the first, which is pretty much. Cast in the form of a nostalgic art movie like Jules and Jim, it recounts the obsession of its hero (Eric Stoltz) with the former lovers of his girlfriend (Annabella Sciorra), which leads him to spy on one of them, a successful novelist (Chris Eigeman), by adopting the name and identity of a friend (Carlos Jacott) and joining the novelist’s therapy group. Stoltz looks so wholesome that it’s a little hard to believe in his dementia, but the visible pleasure of this cast (also including Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Bridget Fonda, and Peter Bogdanovich) in working together and with Baumbach is part of what makes it so enjoyable. There’s a ton of New York atmosphere, if you like that sort of thing, evoking Woody Allen without the sarcasm. (JR) Read more

Hav Plenty

Not everything works in this no-budget autobiographical romantic comedy by writer-director-actor Christopher Scott Cherot, but just about everything is fresh and unpredictable. A homeless novelist named Lee Plenty (Cherot) is invited by a wealthy college friend named Hav Savage (Chenoa Maxwell) to join her at her mother’s home in Washington for New Year’s Eve; during the weekend, he finds himself sexually approached by her best friend, her recently married half sister, and Hav herself. Quirky throughout, this is seldom laugh-out-loud funny, but it kept me interested and amused. (JR) Read more

Cousin Bette

Jessica Lange plays the title heroine in another highly forgettable piece of set decoration inspired by a 19th-century novelin this case Balzac’s tale of a calculating spinster. At least writers Lynn Siefert and Susan Tarr and director Des McAnuff play it mainly for laughs, rather than with the usual strangled piety. Others in the cast include Bob Hoskins, Hugh Laurie, Kelly MacDonald, Elisabeth Shue, and Aden Young. (JR) Read more