Puccini For Beginners 

click to enlarge 13_0008_cpas_puccini.jpg

To commit or not? This is the popular quandary that keeps afloat Maria Maggenti's slim romantic comedy set in boho Manhattan. The twist here: We've got characters hopping in and out of bed, and switching up their defined sexuality at the drop of a martini olive. Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) is a committed lesbian, but on the rebound she seduces a straight gal (Gretchen Mol) who's just dumped her man (Justin Kirk), who's also bedding Allegra. It's a triangle designed to get everybody eventually sorted out into proper relationships ("I didn't know I loved you till I slept with everybody else"), while providing lots of fodder for quips, asides to the camera, comical misunderstandings and the odd bit of intellectual blather that all post-Annie Hall NYC rom-coms demand. An amusing enough trifle, though I wish Reaser made Allegra more likable; Mol, on the other hand, is a delightful winner, with a clear gift for this type of talky screwball comedy.

Starts Fri., March 30. Harris (AH)


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