Walking And Talking

on July 17, 1996 by L.L.
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   Writer-director Nicole Holofcener has an ear for dialogue and an eye for quirky behavior in this endearing film about two women friends and the men in their lives.
   Best friends since sixth grade, Amelia ("Living in Oblivion"'s Catherine Keener) and Laura (Anne Heche) find their friendship on shaky ground when Laura's boyfriend Frank (Todd Field) proposes. Lonely and desperate, Amelia goes out with a nerdy video store clerk (Kevin Corrigan) who spurns her after just one date.
   Holofcener's screenplay tracks the women, together and apart, as they prepare for Laura's wedding. They bond over Laura's pre-marital jitters and Amelia's ambivalence about men and therapy.
   With snappy dialogue, Holofcener molds these characters into fully-rounded beings. Convincingly, Laura's pre-wedding angst manifests itself in small but perceptibly important comments and gestures: she recoils at the sight of a new mole on Frank, and groans over his habit of addressing waitresses by their first names. What sets "Walking and Talking" apart from other female-bonding pictures are its richly textured dialogue and delightfully eccentric cast of misfits. Only occasionally does it veer into self-consciously saccharin, hyper-earnest demonstrations of womanhood.
   In the central roles, Heche and especially Keener are engaging. Playing up Amelia's insecurity, Keener manages the difficult task of making her self-deprecation seem charming and, despite her good looks, credible. As the video geek, the perfectly cast Kevin Corrigan is oddly poignant, turning a throwaway role into a substantial and memorable part.    Starring Catherine Keener, Anne Heche, Todd Field and Kevin Corrigan. Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener. Produced by Ted Hope and James Schamus. A Zenith Production. A Miramax/Pandora release. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 90 min.
Tags: Catherine Keener, Anne Heche, Todd Field, Kevin Corrigan, Nicole Holofcener, Ted Hope and James Schamus. A Zenith Production. A Miramax/Pandora release. Drama
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