Ira & Abby *1/2
Directed by Robert Cary
Written by Jennifer Westfeldt
Chris Messina as Ira Black
Jennifer Westfeldt as Abby Willoughby
David Margulies as Dr. Friedman
Kali Rocha as Tracey
Mary Louise Burke as Janice
Frances Conroy as Lynne Willoughby
Jason Alexander as Dr. Morris Saperstein
Fred Willard as Michael Willoughby
Robert Klein as Seymour Black
Judith Light as Arlene Black
105 Minutes(Rated R for language and some sexual content. )
"Ira & Abby" is one of those films that is just so awful, and such a mess, and so misguided, that I wondered why it ever got off a piece of paper, let along getting on a big screen. It was just such a puzzle what was going through every ones mind when they were making this trash, especially with such a talented group of comedians, who are mostly all off the beaten track: We have Fred Willard, Robert Klein, Jason Alexander, Judith Light, and Darrell Hammond, who all have funny moments, but with such lame material it's a wonder they all agreed to do the film in the first place. This is easily one of the years worst films, just because with such a prolific group of people involved, it should have been much better than it ended up being.
"Ira & Abby" was written by the films lead actress Jennifer Westfeldt, who also wrote and starred in the indie film "Kissing Jessica Stein" a few years back. I never saw that except for bits and pieces. It came out when I was eleven or twelve, and I guess I watched parts on television hoping for more lesbian scenes than there were. But thats neither here nor there. No matter how much praise that film got, there is no denying that this is just a mess. She plays Abby, a sales consultant at a gym. When Ira, a neurotic and self loathing man, comes into the gym because he feels fat, Abby proposes to him, and the two of them rush into a marriage because for one thing the sex in her office was good, and for another thing-what do they have to loose? And on a third note, it's a plot device for what is to come. Her parents are thrilled, his parents disapprove, but after the marriage they begin to see their faults and problems. Ira gets jealous of Abby's first two husbands, and they divorce. But the love story doesn't end there.
The subplots involve the in-laws-played by Judith Light, Robert Klein, Frances Conroy, and Fred Willard-and an affair that goes on within. And there is Westfeldt trying to channel old Woody Allen, with a whole cast of neurotic and analytical people. There are so many montages involved shrinks and a painfully unfunny climatic moment where all of the lead characters and their shrink get into a circle for a conversation. And then I tried to figure out what the script was trying to tell me. At first I thought that the message would be that no marriage is perfect-old, young, totally in love, or only staying together for the children. But the movie goes an extra step to saying that marriage doesn't work, and a meaningful relationship should never go that because its just meaningless. Why get married if you are happy the way you are? A little too bleak and even kind of depressing, even though the end tries to make everything seem like it'll all be alright. I was somewhat at a loss. Don't be fooled by the rather large cast of characters in "Ira & Abby." It's a independent romantic mess that should have never been made.