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My First Mister

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: My First Mister

Starring: Leelee Sobieski, Albert Brooks
Director: Christine Lahti
Rated: R
RunTime: 109 Minutes
Release Date: October 2001
Genres: Comedy, Drama

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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