Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crossing Delancey (1988)

Crossing Delancey is a real treat.

Here's a romantic comedy that delivers on both fronts. There's a sweet romance and some very sold laughs in this 1988 effort from director Joan Micklin Silver.

Isabelle 'Izzy' Grossman (Amy Irving) loves her job working at a major independent bookstore in New York City. She rubs shoulders with major writers and is more than a little interested in one scribe, Anton Maes (Jeroen Krabbe).

Her grandmother, Bubbie Kantor (Reizl Bozyk), isn't as impressed. Grossman, 33, doesn't have a husband. She doesn't appear in a major rush to change her marital status. "If I wait for you, you'll never do it," Kantor complains. She taps matchmaker Hannah Mandelbaum (Sylvia Miles) to find Grossman's better half.

Mandelbaum suggests Sam Posner (Peter Riegert), who recently took over his father's pickle business.


Grossman is less-than-enthused by what her potential suitor does, and where he does, it in New York's Lower East Side. For a career woman used to moving in some pretty impressive circles, Posner is a major step in the wrong direction. A sign posted outside his business, "A joke and a pickle for only a nickel," doesn't help change her attitude. But he's a nice guy who challenges Grossman to reconsider who she considers ideal for a husband.

Crossing Delancey works in so many different ways.

The drama is based on a play by Susan Sandler, but the Big Apple and all its diversity sure looks good.


Wonderful contributions from The Roches make Crossing Delancey: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack especially enjoyable.

Sandler's script is smart and funny with believable people, especially its female characters looking for love and wondering if finding Mr. Right, and becoming a mother, is something they'll ever experience. Bozyk, a veteran of Yiddish theatre, is a gem in her only feature film performance. Savour her work.

The only moment that doesn't ring true in this film's 97-minute running time is a wild cab ride endured by Grossman. The silly sequence feels like it was dropped in from an entirely different, and inferior, movie. But that's a slight quibble.

Watch for David Hyde Pierce (Fraser) and Rosemary Harris, Aunt May from Spider-Man. For serious literary buffs, there's a party scene with about a dozen authors including Quincy Long, John Patrick Stanley and Madge Cooper.

The romantic comedy may be ailing in 2011, but Crossing Delancey is a wonderful effort from start to finish.

Rating: 9/10

FUN FACTS: Amy Irving received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. Crossing Delancey was one of six films Hyde Pierce was featured in 1988. Peter Riegert appeared in two episodes of M*A*S*H in 1977. Irving was the singing voice of Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

No comments: