Projections - Movie Reviews

Just Looking Just Looking

Jason Alexander's coming of age comedy reaches a level of drama that's been led up to from an endearing sitcom quality that the director manifested quite well as George Costanza on Seinfeld.  The mid 50's in Queens is sunny and less chaotic than today and Just Looking gleams with nostalgic sentiment with its insight into teenage sexual curiosity.

Working from Marshall Karp's semi autobiographical script, Alexander finds the period with its voyeurism resulting from ethnicity that takes the genial protagonist Lenny (Ryan Merriman) from the Bronx to the outer borough of New York City.  The naive, wondering fourteen year old is sent by his Jewish mom Syliva (Patti LuPone), who lives with the local butcher and step dad (Richard V. Licata), to spend the summer with Norma his pregnant aunt.

At first Lenny is resistant to this new residence, but it offers an alluring opportunity to act on an abnormal inkling for watching couples doing the deed from binoculars or through peepholes.  So he gamely enters into a sex club, led by Alice, an engaging Amy Braveman.

Just Looking gains more intimacy with Lenny's eyeing of a comely nurse Hedy (Gretchen Mol) and her close doctor friend (John Bolger).  The kid and Hedy forge a bond while he finds a way to sneak peeks at the couple.

There is a simplicity in this sometimes heartfelt and humorous memoir but it lacks the complexity of Raymond DeFellita's Two Family House.  This good natured retrospective turns out to be less moving than the dream girl whom Lenny becomes enchanted with one summer.

Just Looking

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