Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tonight's Movie: Crossing Delancey (1988)

I recall renting and enjoying CROSSING DELANCEY a couple of years after it was first released. I hadn't seen it in the years since, so when my dad recently bought it on DVD it was a great opportunity for me to take a fresh look at the movie.

Amy Irving plays Isabelle Grossman, an independent young woman who works at a New York bookstore.  Izzy's lack of a husband is the despair of her grandmother (Reizl Bozyk), who in the "old school" Jewish tradition thinks the solution to Izzy's romantic life is to hire a matchmaker (Sylvia Miles). Enter Sam (Peter Riegert), a pickle salesman Izzy meets under protest.

Izzy doesn't think Sam fits with her uptown, "intellectual" life, yet she's attracted to him and keeps finding reasons to see him again...especially after she learns that the only reason Sam let the matchmaker set them up is he'd admired Izzy from afar for some time.

This is an enjoyable "feel good" film with an interesting and somewhat unusual plot. I liked the way bits of everyday Jewish life are woven throughout the story, such as Izzy attending the bris for a friend's son, and I also liked the New York bookstore "vibe" which somewhat calls to mind the later YOU'VE GOT MAIL (1998).

The characters are sympathetic, particularly Sam; he's so nice and smart it's almost hard to believe no woman has snapped him up already! My one complaint about the film is that the script finds too many excuses to keep Izzy and Sam apart, making Izzy look somewhat immature and flighty towards the end. Izzy's initial reticence to get to know Sam better or to embrace her grandmother's "old world" ways is understandable, but her interest in a shallow, self-centered writer (Jeroen Krabbe) is particularly hard to fathom past a certain point.

Given the time the movie spends on Izzy and the obnoxious writer, I felt just a tiny bit shortchanged on the time spent developing the inevitable happy ending for Izzy and Sam. Some sort of postscript would have been the perfect touch, perhaps set at their wedding or the bris for their first child.

Amy Irving, incidentally, was Mrs. Steven Spielberg at the time this movie was made. Her mother is Priscilla Pointer; those of us of a certain age remember Pointer as Rebecca Barnes Wentworth on DALLAS in the '80s.

One of Izzy's coworkers is played by David Hyde Pierce, several years before FRASIER. Rosemary Harris has a cameo as another self-involved writer. The cast also includes Faye Grant, Kathleen Wilhoite, Suzzy Roche, George Martin, and John Bedford Lloyd.

Parental advisory: This PG movie is for the most part a family-friendly film, but there are a couple of annoyingly pointless moments such as women changing clothes at a gym. By current standards it's a very mild PG.

CROSSING DELANCEY is available on DVD and can be rented from Netflix. (Curiously, the DVD case said it was widescreen, but the disc contained a fullscreen movie.) It also came out on VHS. It can be rented for streaming from Amazon Instant Video.


Blogger Reel Popcorn Junkie said...

Irving's grandmother is the best thing about this film. The soundtrack is awesome too. Crossing Delancey is a smart romantic comedy.

11:31 AM  

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