Walking and Talking

Bomb Rating: 

"Give me an A! Give mean N! Give me a G, S, T! What does that spell? ANGST! ANGST! Yay!"

I've initiated a new ritual I practice every time I go see a movie that falls into my so-called "angst" genre. I wear one of those cute, little outfits suited to nubile, hormone-loaded, high school cheerleaders, run up to the front of the theater about halfway through the movie and try to lead the audience in a cheer: "Give me an A! Give me an N! Give me a G, S, T! What does that spell? ANGST! ANGST! Yay!" If I'm in a particularly egregious mood, I don't wear underwear.

"Walking and Talking," an independent film from first-time director Nicole Holofcener, provides just the right kind of inspiration for my cheer. One thirtiesh best friend, Laura (Anne Heche), is getting married to Frank (Todd Field), while the other thirty-ish best friend, Amelia (Catherine Keener), laments that their friendship is falling apart. Amelia's love life leaves much to be desired, consisting as it does of a weird video store clerk, Bill (Kevin Corrigan), whom she refers to, pleasantly, as "the ugly guy."

One expects Holofcener to bow to the canon of blatant sagging-buttock and drooping-breasts jokes that typically pollute female pre-midlife crisis movies; however, she eschews those in favor of the blatant symbolism of a large cat named Big Jeans shared by Amelia and Laura. They find out Big Jeans has cancer and realize they have to cope with the inevitability of change.

Big Jeans, however, carried other symbolic significance -- he reminded me of being hit with a ruler by my third-grade teacher because I failed to understand that Encyclopedia Brown symbolized the importance of reading. (I just thought he was a dork.) At this point, I started bawling like a baby, startling other moviegoers and inciting many of them to comment unkindly on my outfit. If only Big Jeans could have just been a cat.

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