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Movie Review: My First Mister

Story: I review this film with some ambivalence. There was much in the film I really disliked and much that I liked. (I HATE when that happens!) Actress and first time feature length director Christine Lahti (she won an Oscar in 1996 for 'best live-action' short film Lieberman in Love) deftly handles what could have been an eye-rolling I've seen this before reaction to the story line. A 17 year old Goth (you know complete with black clothing, body piercing, alienation from everything except her cat and dead grandmother) befriends a 49 year old anal retentive loser manager of a conservative men's clothing store. This odd couple somehow find friendship and themselves through one another. It is a wonderful character study and then suddenly the story line becomes dark and manipulative and seems destined for the Lifetime network all too soon. However, even though I was shamelessly suckered into the last part of the film, I somehow did not seem to care. The acting was great and the dialog intelligent. Written by Jill Franklyn (who I read was credited with the Seinfeld terminology Yada, Yada, Yada) who shows great promise for understanding characters. It is an all too unusual occurrence to find a female writer and director working on the same film.

Acting: Albert Brooks breaks from his mold of working mostly in his own films and he does a fine job as the 49 year old playing against the talented Lee Lee Sobieski. It is not her fault, but Ms. Sobieski is apparently the younger clone of Helen Hunt. The likeness is frightening. When I closed my eyes, I only heard Ms Hunt's voice. There are also wonderful roles by the always terrific Mary Kay Place, Carol Kane, John Goodman (in the same role he always plays) and Michael McKean.

Critters: A beautiful cat named Black and two sweet pugs.

Food: Brisket, green Jell-O, coffee.

Visual Art: Some very funny home decor in the house of the Goth's parents.

Blatant Product Placement: Victoria Secret, Pottery Barn and some other mall-type stores.

Soundtrack: A little peeve of mine is when the sound track tries too hard to tell you how to feel. But, I did laugh at some of the sound track choices.

Opening Titles: I don't remember

Theater Audience: We went to a very early Saturday movie and it was fairly empty. But we did notice that almost everyone did not remain in their original seat choice (including us).

Sappy Factor: 7

Quirky Meter: 1

Squirm Scale: Way too much body piercing information at the beginning of the film.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: One for me, none for my two movie buddies.

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: The dreaded narrator was all too prevalent and unnecessary.

Big Screen or Rental: Either. For a similar film about an alienated Goth-like youth rent Ghost World. And for the May - December romance film of all time rent Harold and Maude.

Length: One hour and 49 minutes.