Written & Directed by Noah Baumbach (1997) Starring: Eric Stoltz, Annabella Sciorra, Chris Eigeman, Carlos Jacott
Lester Grimm (Stoltz) has the bad habit of becoming obsessed with his current girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends. When he gets into a relationship with Ramona (Sciorra), he tries his hardest to not fall into his old habits, but when he follows her writer ex-boyfriend Dashiell Frank (Eigeman), he winds up joining group therapy under his best friend’s name.
Mr. Jealousy takes the cast from Kicking and Screaming but sets them into a slightly more grown up reality: they all live in New York, have jobs they either love or hate, and are searching for “The One.” Lester and Ramona’s relationship seems smoother than smooth, until Lester’s following habit rears its ugly head.
If there’s one great thing about Baumbach scripts is that they manage to have intelligent people speak realistically. The dialogue is still stylized, as all movie dialogue ends up being, but there are the awkward moments and the weird, inside jokes between friends. In that regard, Baumbach is a master. He also manages to make overused plots into something that’s fun to watch while his neurotic characters work through the phases in their lives.
Eric Stoltz is easily the most likable guy in the universe, even as a jealous boyfriend, and Chris Eigeman is still really entertaining as a witty, if highly disorganized and messed up guy. The cast works really well together as a whole, maybe because they’ve gotten used to each other since Kicking and Screaming? All the winning scenes for me happen between the guy characters, who are struggling to figure out what it means to be adults, versus the romantic plot. It’s emphasized enough, I just can’t detach it from Lester’s personality rather than the driving force of the film.
Considering I watched in twice in three weeks, there is something in Mr. Jealousy that’s really entertaining, even if its just that seeing smart people live in New York and have problems, while God narrates from above (Have I mentioned the voice-over narration?).