out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
My First Mister
Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4
If you enjoy heartwarming, feel-good movies, this is a must see!
Actress Christine Lahti turns director with this quirky, poignant tale of two
people who get a second chance. 17 year-old Jennifer (Leelee Sobieski), a recent
high-school grad, is looking for a job in L.A.'s Century City Mall. With her
rebellious, confrontational attitude, Goth/punk clothes, tattoos, body piercings
and death-obsession, it's no wonder no one will hire her. No one except Randall
(Albert Brooks), the shy, stodgy, sedate 49 year-old manager of Rutherfords, a
conservative men's clothing store, who offers her work if she'll take the
silverware off her face, dress properly and cut the profanity. Since they're
both isolated souls, a close bond of friendship soon develops as they recognize
in one another a shared loneliness, desire for companionship and need to develop
their own kind of family. Screenwriter Jill Franklyn and director Lahti achieve
an emotional honesty and light-hearted sensitivity that's all too rare these
days. Unfortunately, the richly humorous, deftly written script takes a strange,
unexpectedly melodramatic turn as the result of an unbelievable coincidence.
"It's just one of those small but enormous things." Leelee Sobieski is
pitch-perfect, embodying her character with an edgy, blistering conviction
that's both funny and touching. It wouldn't surprise me to see Sobieski
nominated for an Oscar. While Albert Brooks gives a sweet, masterfully nuanced
performance, ditsy Carol Kane fares less well as Jennifer's idiotic, intrusive
mother, divorced from John Goodman, her aging hippie father, but Desmond
Harrington is memorable as a cynical young man who enters Jennifer's life. On
the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "My First Mister" is a tender, off-beat 8.
It's a heart-grabber that lifts the spirit.
Copyright © 2001 Susan Granger
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