Ha. Haven’t put a word down in weeks. And what captured my attention? No, not the West Bank abductions, the Ukraine, the Unity Government. No. Not at all. Sitting here on Shabbat with nine days left, they put a movie on TV. And furthermore, not even a new one.
“Kissing Jessica Stein” (2001) is ‘a heartwarming romantic comedy’ which celebrates every New York Jewish stereotype you can imagine and with an all-Jewish cast it was real, not made-up. I watched it and actually enjoyed it. Me. The little blue donkey.
Being Jewish is both a lifestyle and an art form. You get a nuance, a whisper just walking around on the Upper West Side, but this was up-close and full-frontal. Cheap shots to clever dialogue; it was all there. These people are some of the smartest, most creative individuals on the planet, full of angst, hormones, gush and delight, much of which was simply displayed like a nude, blushing portrait on the screen. The IMDB quotes page is full of slick dialogue and well-timed riposte; the Jewish sense of timing is without equal. Couldn’t help comparing to Barbra Streisand in “Meet the “Fokkers”, or Woody Allen minus death wish. Jerusalem is full of people like this and I sometimes feel lumbering, almost Neanderthal by comparison; perhaps goyim have a hard time keeping up. Jessica is Jewish, sensitive, a little neurotic and a journalist by profession but an edgy, risk-taking artist by temperament who impulsively answers a W4W ad after a series of nightmarish dating interactions. Helen is the non-Jewish director of an art gallery with the sex drive of a Lamborghini, given to random encounters with everyone and anyone, including the delivery boy. They meet and the chemistry is explosive. They make up the rules as they go along, neither having any experience of how a gay couple are supposed to behave and their courtship is both earnest, fresh and quite hilarious.
Judy is Jessica’s mother – do I have to draw a diagram? Shabbat dinner is Helen’s first exposure to the whole tearingly invasive self-congratulatory drama of Friday nights in a Jewish household.
I think you’re supposed to be Jewish to catch all of the jokes – I was quite glad that I was able to laugh in most of the right places. I still can’t work out whether the dedication “for our parents” was ironic or not.