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Strange Relations
IMDB Rating: 7.6/10 from R votes
Release: 31 Mar 2002 /

Strange Relations

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Paul Seed,
Stars: ,
Synopsis: Jerry is a successful New York psychiatrist who is diagnosed with leukemia. When he tells his mother, she reveals that Jerry was adopted from a young Catholic girl called Sheila in ...

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Critic Reviews


I consider Walters the top screen actress of the past 20 years -- I'd pay to watch her read Direct-TV fan letters. She makes ordinary movies (Stepping Out, Sister My Sister, Clothes In The Wardrobe, etc.) seem quite good -- and good movies (Educating Rita, Prick Up Your Ears, Just Like A Woman, Billy Elliott, and Calendar Girls) seem great whenever she's on the screen. Here, she has a perfect role for her immense talents as a working class Liverpudlian Mum faced with the sudden arrival on her doorstep of the son (Paul Reiser) that she was force to put up for adoption forty years ago. She gets the use he entire spectrum of her immense talents: the auditory, the physical, the facial nuance perfection, the movements, the humor, the drama, etc.

Happier still, the combination of terrific supporting performances by the entire cast, believable people as its insightful characters, and a wry screenplay that manages to deliver many smiles, titters, and the occasional belly-laugh. Kudos to Director Weed and Screenwriter/Co-Producer/Cameo-Actor/SNL-Alum Tim Kazurinsky because accomplishing all this is no trivial task -- when you've had a chance to think about the plot. The shamefaced story-line is ye olde "I'm-a-rich-New-York-Doctor-dying-of-cancer-so-my-mother-told-me-I-was-adopted-so-I-could-crash-into-the-lives-of-my-birth-mother-and-her-family-members-in-impoverished-Irish-Liverpool-so-I-could-try-to-find-a-bone-marrow-transplant-while-learning-insights-from-my-new-culture-where-I-am-a-fish-out-of-water." Moreover, the movie gets its largest incredulity out on the table right in the beginning. Paul Reiser's Dr. Jerry Lipman is actually purebred Irish! In my mind, I think I can see Weed and Kazurinsky selling this to a producer saying, "Think of Terms of Endearment crossed with Local Hero, then salted with two shakes of Flirting With Disaster, finished off with a dollop of Lorenzo's Oil."

But, the acting is so good, the people so genuine and interesting, and the screenplay so full of disarmingly dry wit and wry observations, accented by some clever background inclusions by Director Weed, that it all works wonderfully. Reiser's love interest is his sister-in-law, but in this context, we're okay with that. Amy Robbins, who plays Maureen, comes across as a terrific actress in her own right -- and somehow gets away with making no bones about the fact that although her human-being chemistry with Reiser is adorable and their sex is great, inside her true self she knows that it still pales against the latent-yet-ubiquitous animal chemistry she feels for her hunky-but-no-good ex, roguishly played by Ian Hyphenated-Name. The heavyset Brian Daughty also scores well as feckless brother Frank. Olympia Dukakis and George Wendt are ideally cast in their minor roles as Reiser's adopted mother and brother.

In short, if you can stand a bit of TV-movie-type production values and obvious cuts for commercials, and you have some tolerance for a dollop of treacle, catch this one on Showtime if you can.

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