Amy Irving, Peter Riegert, Jeroen Krabbe, Reizl Bozyk
Directed by Joan Micklin Silver
Written by Susan Sandler
Originally released 1998
Warner Home Video 2007
Crossing Delancey is a great romantic comedy from Warner Brothers. To be honest, you have to wonder what took so long. The delay is especially ironic considering Crossing Delancey is about not noticing what is right under your nose. Amy Irving and Peter Riegert are great as two Jewish singles who meet through a matchmaker. Susan Sandler adapted her play and managed to keep all the witty dialogue and language and lose the stagey quality some stage to screen adaptations have.
Irving plays Isabelle “Izzy” Grossman, a bookstore mouse who has a crush on famous and local writer Anton Maes though he doesn’t see it. Her bubbie hires a matchmaker who finds her a pickle vendor named Sam Posner (Peter Riegert). The irony is Isabelle is as blind to Sam’s potential as Anton is to Isabelle’s. This is the basic plot of Crossing Delancey.
What really makes this romantic comedy DVD work is New York. A lot of it is filmed in the Jewish section around Delancey Street but the movie allows for many eccentric characters that give the movie a comic touch that puts it way above the fray. Amy Irving and Peter Riegert play very believable and very human characters whose pain is quite visible.
Director Joan Micklin Silver also shows a deft touch in Crossing Delancey. Instead of the old and new hit them over the head Hollywood method of movie making she uses scenes and moments to voice her character’s inner life and thoughts. A particularly good example is the salad bar scene after Isabelle has turned down Sam Posner a second time: you see a bunch of single women all preparing themselves a take home alone supper they will eat in from of the TV. Another favorite is the little old ladies in the self defense class. The topper is when Izzy races in a gypsy cab to her date with Sam.
I am not a big fan of romantic comedies but this one works for me because the groom to be is not shown as a total idiot and the bride to be as not necessarily the most wonderful person on earth. This is a movie about real people and, so, a nice change. It is a chick flick a guy can watch with a girl without having to defend the entire male breed afterwards. In fact, an intelligent guy can easily turn the tables on the discussion with this one as Isabelle Grossman is certainly no saint and certainly not without reproach.
Crossing Delancey, finally available on DVD, is an intelligent, funny, witty, well-made, brilliantly acted, well-written romantic comedy. A must for any fan of the genre and a must for any fan of really good movies you want to watch time and again.
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