Suzie Gold
3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
suzie gold This well-made ethnic comedy is like a blast of fresh air--as funny as, say, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but never resorting to zany stereotypes. Suzie Gold (Phoenix) is the eldest child in a solid North London Jewish family that's in a frenzy of excitement as Suzie's younger sister (Fraval) approaches her wedding day. Her parents (Townsend and Front) have high hopes for Suzie as well, especially since she's interested in the very eligible Jewish boy Anthony Silver (Goldberg). What they don't know is that she's secretly fallen in love with a gentile (Gregory). While she certainly doesn't want to disappoint her entire extended family, at age 23 it's about time Suzie made some important decisions for herself.

Yes, the ethnic quirks are here--big hair, financial flamboyance, endless food, chattering gossip--but the filmmakers keep things in balance by creating complex, interesting characters who continually surprise us. Phoenix is the latest American star to headline a British film ... and to blend in seamlessly! Not only is her accent and attitude dead on, but she's also terrific in the role, wonderfully conveying the woman-child manner of an intelligent Jewish princess who's never made any decisions for herself, but has to now. This is her film entirely, and she keeps it thoroughly engaging, drawing on the solid support from the fine cast around her. As the two men in her life Goldberg and Gregory nicely illustrate Suzie's internal struggle without falling into good/bad pigeonholes. Goldberg's Anthony is slimy and effeminate, yet he's always been the man of Suzie's dreams; while Gregory's Darren is the charming guy who catches her off guard, but isn't willing to just go with the flow. The requirements of a movie rom-com tell us instantly what Suzie's choice will be, but at least we can sympathise with her dilemma! And director-cowriter Cantor fills the film with witty subplots, lively characters and telling fantasy sequences that flesh out the themes wonderfully. Even if it all peters out sweetly at the end, we don't mind too much.

cert 12 themes, language, innuendo 28.Aug.03

dir Ric Cantor
scr Ric Cantor, Carry Franklin, Lisa Ratner
with Summer Phoenix, Leo Gregory, Stanley Townsend, Rebecca Front, Iddo Goldberg, Sophie Winkleman, Gem Souleyman, Ariana Fraval, Miriam Karlin, Steve Jameson, Debbie Chazen, Rachel Stevens
release UK 5.Mar.04
Pathe
03/UK 1h33

Can the perfect man be second best? Goldberg and Phoenix

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R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Joel Weiner, London: 4Ĺ out of 5 stars "This film is of the very top standard and quality, if I my say so myself. I myself was in fact in the film, acting as the 'mischevieous boy'. Definately a winner." (13.Oct.03)

suzie gold David Haviland, London: 1.5/5 "Romantic comedies often seem obvious and predictable in hindsight, but even Sleepless In Seattle, generally regarded as one of the cheesiest films of the genre, succeeds in getting us to doubt the outcome by having two characters that donít even meet until the end of the film. Suzie Gold, however, makes no effort to surprise its audience, and consequently disappoints. It might as well have been called Bridget Jonesí Big Fat Jewish Wedding And A Funeral, as it cuts and pastes from a number of romantic comedies without matching the charm of any of them. This is the debut film from Ric Cantor, one of the writers of the Ali G TV series. As this might suggest, the observational comedy is stronger than the narrative. It feels like a debut too, with an obvious and overused soundtrack, and unconvincing shifts in tone. Summer Phoenix and Stanley Townsend give strong performances, but the rest are sitcom-standard, and few of the characters are believable." (17.Feb.04)

Steven, London: 1/5 "I went to this movie and never saw a single frame. I had to go - a charity performance arranged by my mother. I heard it was so awful I stayed up late the night before to make sure I fell asleep as soon as the lights went down. Now to the review: according to my wife and our friends the movie was indeed absolutely awful. Well - at least we gave a few pounds to a good cause." (15.Mar.04)

© 2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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