Ira and Abby

Directed by Robert Cary


Ira and Abby
Directed by: Directed by Robert Cary
(Magnolia)
It's a bitch that Jennifer Westfeldt has to write her own leads---after her turn as writer and co-star of the 2001 bisexual rom-com Kissing Jessica Stein, her neo-Annie Hall charm should've lifted her out of the art house. Instead she was doomed to guest spots, unseen movies and an unjustly cancelled series in Notes from the Underbelly. Back to the laptop she went, and out came Ira and Abby, a twitchy comedy about uptight New Yorkers. Ira (Chris Messina) has just been dumped by his longtime therapist, needs to break up with his longtime girlfriend and feels fat. He goes to get a gym consult where he meets Abby (Westfeldt), who's perky and affectionate, batshittingly so, and he asks her to marry him after half a day. To his shock, Ira agrees, and then their families meet. His parents (Robert Klein and a mildly miscast Judith Light) are analysts in a long, loveless marriage; hers are chipper hippies: Fred Willard and Frances Conroy. Confidences are broken, secrets unearthed, issues deconstructed---it's ultimately a commentary on the reliance of the average American on their therapist, but it also believes in following your heart, which allows you to look past clumsy fantasy sequences, "gritty" hand-held camerawork and the absence of Westfeldt's Stein pal Heather Juergensen.
--Tara Thorne

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