Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Landline

Landline
Starring:
Jenny Slate, Edie Falcom John Turturro, Jay Duplass, Finn Wittrock and Abby Quinn


Rated: R for sexual content, language and drug use.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 21, 2017 Released by: Magnolia Pictures

The vicissitudes of love and angst among generations is felt in this reunion of Obvious Child star Jenny Slate (Zootopia, Secret Life of Pets, as well as the The Lego Batman Movie) and co-writer/director Gillian Robespierre set in 1995 Manhattan.

Landline has the period trappings right, including rollerblading, CD outlets, as well as raves in getting to what a dysfunctional clan like the Jacobs are up to - like the judgmental Italian businesswoman matriarch Pat (Edie Falco of Megan Leavey and philandering Jewish copywriter/aspiring playwright Alan (John Turturro of Fading Gigolo).

How it's all grounded from the eldest daughter, graphic designer Dana (perky, if peevish Slate) who's engaged to genial, oafish Ben (Jay Duplass of Beatriz at Dinner) might not be that coherent, as may be the intent of this snaky, raunchy, but predictable dramatic comedy.

An unsatisfied Dana in the woods intimately with Ben discovers her lubricious tendencies with a former college sweetheart, Nate (Finn Wittrock of La La Land, The Big Short) as a genuinely sisterly concern will ensue as she makes her way to the family home.

Pat isn't happy about Alan making her the policing figure when it comes to their seventeen-year-old Ali (Abby Quinn) in that rebellious phase where she sneaks to embrace a very hedonistic, reckless lifestyle that Dana will also find solace in. As she teams up with Ali who's onto daddy's indiscretions (some 'erotic poetry') with an enigmatic 'C.' They have to use tact when it comes to a mother who learns she can't have it all as she personifies Hillary Clinton in those pink pantsuits.

Landline tries to find its bearings from yearning and apprehension as Slate continues to demonstrate a droll pungency that is effective at times, although perhaps off-putting to those not accustomed to her brand of humor when dealing with a hodgepodge (including a Mad About You reference that would tickle Helen Hunt) around  nostalgia before mobile phones would shift the culture to more instant interaction. Even as mom and her two daughters share a reflective, opening-up (and lighting up) time in the bathroom

Falco and Turturro may demonstrate their talents from sly, egocentric, indulgent paternal types. Nevertheless, Slate seems to excel most alongside the wildcard in Quinn who manifests a piquant adventurous shameless boldness of risk-taking and raging hormones. Plenty of suspect behavior and Japanese food are prevalent in a floppy, sometimes fun Landline which in retrospect might have resonated at least as much if presently situated.

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