Flannel Pajamas Movie Review
Urban sophisticates may relate to the plight of Stuart (Justin Kirk) and Nicole (Julianne Nicholson). Set up by friends, the two feel an instant electric attraction. Stuart promotes Broadway shows for a living, while Nicole aspires to become a small-scale caterer. Since he's the better off of the two, it isn't long before she moves into his high-rise pad and gladly accepts his offer to pay off her student loans. Their first months together are a giddy dance of (full-frontal) sex and mutual admiration.
And then the cracks start to appear. When the inevitable "do you want children" discussion happens, Nicole, who wants three, is disheartened when Stuart wants to wait for at least two years, even though he tries to flatter her by telling her he wants her all to himself. How about a dog? He won't even allow that. Hmm.
On a trip to meet Nicole's family back in Montana, Stuart encounters a boisterous brood, many of whom are drinkers, and parents whose anti-Semitism bubbles up here and there. (One is reminded of Woody Allen's visit to Annie Hall's family home.) But Stuart's family won't win any awards either. His possibly bipolar brother, Jordan (Jamie Harrold), exhibits manic behavior that drives Nicole nuts, but Stuart won't push him away. During the wedding, in which Jordan serves as best man, it's a highly dramatic moment when he gets up to give the traditional speech. What will he say? Luckily, things go smoothly, at least at that moment.
Once Stuart and Nicole are locked into matrimony, all their baggage -- and there's lots -- starts tumbling out of the closet, and we're forced to suffer through countless petty arguments and passive-aggressive game playing as the two drift inexorably apart. All this is finely observed and painstakingly rendered, but it's also a bit boring. Writer/director Jeff Lipsky succeeds in keeping it real, but it's almost too real, just as our own daily lives are typically devoid of screenworthy drama. Twenty minutes or so of cuts would probably have helped the movie pack a more potent punch.
Kirk and Nicholson are polished actors who do well with the material and show bravery during their sex scenes, but they deserve a tighter script with more yelling and fewer icy silences.
Are those Dockers?