TROUBLE CITY

DVD REVIEW: CROSSING DELANCEY

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STUDIO: Warner
MSRP: $19.98
RATED: PG
RUNNING TIME: 97 min.
SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Theatrical trailer

The Pitch

A friend of mine has an Amy Irving story. It’s really short. He bumped into Amy Irving, got a good look at those crystal-clear blue eyes, and promptly lost all power of speech.

P.S. Spielberg was a fool.

The Humans

Amy Irving (The Fury), Peter Riegert (Local Hero), Reizl Bozyk, Jeroen Krabbe (The 4th Man), Sylvia Miles (Midnight Cowboy), John Bedford Lloyd (The Abyss), David Hyde-Pierce (Wolf), Rosemary Harris (Spider-Man 3), Faye Grant (V)

The Nutshell

Isabelle (Irving) is sweet, successful, and single in New York. She gets reliable action from a WASP neighbor (Lloyd) whose wife kicks him out a lot, and she’s trying to start something up with a suave Dutch novelist (Krabbe) she met through the bookstore where she works. Her earthy, old-country bubbie (Bozyk) has other ideas, and she’s bringing in a matchmaker. The match? Sam (Riegert), a Brooklyn pickle grocer and all-around Nice Jewish Boy.

A little tradition never hurt anybody. Except maybe Sam, who’s in danger of being eclipsed by Izzy’s more exciting suitors. After all, she’s a big girl in the big city. Why shouldn’t she consider her options?


You Know Your Hair's Too Big When: you grow a second head.


The Lowdown

I like that Crossing Delancey (1988) doesn’t judge its characters. A lesser film might criticize the emptiness of Izzy’s dating life, or take the other side and depict her family as smothering and meddlesome. Perhaps that’s the attraction of big-city love stories— there’s room for all interpretations and combinations, space for people to make mistakes and be themselves. This observational quality is characteristic of director Joan Micklin Silver’s other movies, notably Hester Street and Between the Lines, which are full of people with conflicted motives and ambitions.

Another Silver hallmark is the way her films work the local angle. No shooting in Vancouver or Montreal here: NY stage performers round out the cast, and a keen eye will spot cameos from such real-life local figures as Ronnie Gilbert, Hendrik Hertzberg, and John Patrick Shanley. And if the Roches on the soundtrack don’t trigger memories of the pre-Giuliani era, the garbage on the sidewalks will.


Scheduling mixup on the Dating Game


Two performances stand out. Bozyk, a Yiddish theatre veteran, had never appeared in a feature film before. She's a walking, talking history lesson—or as the film has it, “a hundred and twenty pounds of pure gold.” As Sam, Riegert has to show us not only his virtuous patience but also his civil restraint when said patience is at an end. The character could easily come across as a doormat, but Riegert gives us a man who’s in for the long haul and deserves some respect.


"Can we swing by Delta House after?"


The Package

Just a theatrical trailer, Mac. And those eyes.

8 out of 10


This film is rated PG. Thanks for small favors, Mr. Valenti.