Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kissing Jessica Stein

Among the field of film, the subject of sexuality has always been a risky subject to cover. (It doesn't seem so hard to cover in foreign films.) Here in the States, filmmakers either take the subject lightly or make their film heavily erotic.

Charles Herman-Wurmfeld's Kissing Jessica Stein falls into the former category. It takes the exhausted plot of a dating failure that fears they'll never find "the one" and then the next person they meet could be just that, and slightly improves on it. The dating failure in question here is Jessica Stein (Jennifer Westfeldt) and the possible "one" is Helen Cooper (Heather Juergensen).

It has its charms. It focuses on bisexuality in a positive light rather than in a slutty way. (You know, the "more easy shots" option.) Bisexuality is viewed here the same way a heterosexual relationship would be shown.

However, there are its downsides, and there are plenty. For starters, there's the fact that Jessica probably only starting dating Helen just because she couldn't find someone nice in the form of a man. (Her many standards are to blame.) And once people realize Jessica is seeing someone, they strain to know who she's seeing. It's annoying in this as it is in real life.

It's good in parts all in all, Kissing Jessica Stein was lacking. It doesn't go into great depths in regards with bisexuality, and many of the characters are annoying, including Jessica. It's worth a rental at most.

My Rating: ***1/2


  1. I liked the film more than you did. I felt this movie did a nice job of treating sexuality as much more than an on/off concept, that a person's sexuality can be as complex as any other aspect of one's humanity. Jessica's high standards seem to stem from her fear of intimacy and being hurt, which made that aspect of hers very forgivable to me. I liked the fact that once she made the leap to fall in love with this person, she put down all those fears, if even for just a moment. That opened a door to allowing herself to be more open to falling in love again. She's learned to listen more to her heart, and less to her fears. The fact that she is still friends with her former lover is an encouraging sign of her growth. And I think the scene on the porch with her mother - when, to Jessica's great surprise, her mother said, "I think she's a lovely girl." - was just so sweet and powerful. A great scene of a mother's love. A very nice film.

  2. Like the first commenter, I also liked this film a lot more than you did. I'm actually going to be reviewing it in less than a week as part of my next category of movies.


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