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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Peter and Vandy
Directed by Jay DiPietro
Strand Home Video 10/09 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Not Rated

Peter (Jason Ritter) meets Vandy (Jess Weixler) sitting on a bench in lower Manhattan while she is eating lunch during a break from jury duty. It is a very awkward encounter with this young man trying very hard to be cool and nonchalant but revealing his anxiety in the presence of such a pretty and poised young woman. How would they react in a romantic relationship? How would they handle the sexual politics of such intimacy? Who would take the lead in the honest expression of feelings? Could their relationship survive the obstacles they face?

Writer and director Jay DiPietro has adapted this enticing romantic story from his 2002 play. Using the now familiar techniques of nonlinear storytelling, jump cuts, and masterful editing, the filmmaker challenges us to understand and appreciate that intimate relationships stand or fall on the basis of how couples handle trifles and everyday routines. This is certainly the case with Peter, an architect, and Vandy, an art gallery director. One of their fiercest fights follows his anger over her use of two knives to spread peanut butter and jelly on two pieces of bread. Of course, this blow-up comes on the heels of Peter feeling bad about a job interview and Vandy's questions about what happened. They also have very different tastes in movies and food. Ever notice how much squabbling ensues between lovers from decisions about what or where to eat? Peter and Vandy both wonder about the viability of marriage as they witness a fight between one of his friends and his wife over whether to tip a bartender at a wedding.

Jason Ritter is convincing as the funny and often self-deprecating and self-doubting Peter. Jess Weixler's Vandy is more secure in her identity and able to handle the brush fires in their relationship. In fact, Weixler's assured and sexy performance is the best thing about this romantic drama.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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