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Easy (2004)

"Easy: This Film Makes It Look So Simple"

By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

      EASY resists easy classifications. It is a lively, idiosyncratic romantic comedy, funny and sexy but with a strong serious streak. It's both a promising debut for writer-director Jane Weinstock and a breakthrough role for star Marguerite Moreau. 

      Set in a contemporary L.A. that is recognizable both psychologically and physically (credit cinematographer Paul Ryan and production designer Aradhana Seth), EASY talks the local talk as well. Where else would a woman casually say, "I'm dying to have a baby, but my girlfriend wants to wait." 

      EASY milieu is as old as Jane Austen and as contemporary as SEX AND THE CITY: a young woman's attempt to find her romantic footing. It's about the morass of dating, how changeable and will-o'-the-wisp our feelings can be, how we complicate our lives without trying.

      Though Weinstock's on-target writing means a lot of EASY is amusing, a lot is intentionally not. EASY touches on suicide, infidelity and other serious matters as it reminds us that though we may be smiling, the lives we are laughing at play differently to the people who are living them. 

      Definitely not laughing at this point in her life is protagonist Jamie Harris (Moreau), a young woman who names products for a living and whose personal life is laid bare via a series of outrageous phone messages left by guys breaking up with her in the most obtuse ways possible.

      Prone to sleeping with men before she really knows them, Jamie considers herself "a pathetic jerk magnet" who is "having a really destructive relationship with myself." The drama in EASY is directed at proving to Jamie and the world what the audience immediately knows: She deserves a whole lot better than she's been getting.

      In the way of movies since time immemorial, after all this rejection, Jamie comes across not one but two men who have the potential to be the real thing. First is the killingly handsome John Kalicharan (THE ENGLISH PATIENT'S Naveen Andrews), a smoldering, Byronic poet whose romantic-poetry seminar Jamie once took. And then there is Mick McCabe (Brian F. O'Byrne), a self-described "silly Irish bloke" who has a wacky talk show on Comedy Central. 

      As Jamie tries to decide if either of these guys is for her, she does something that Jane Austen heroines never did: She has lots of frankly presented sex. Director Weinstock has said she wanted the sequences "to be more like real sex, and not some kind of romanticized moment where you see an arm, a leg, a thigh and then it's over." She succeeded.

      Perhaps because it is a first-time venture, there are moments when EASY is not all it could be, when there is too much coincidence in the characters' lives and not enough chemistry between the actors. But whenever things start to flag, the film can count on star Moreau to come to its rescue.

      Best known for costarring opposite John Cusack in RUNAWAY JURY and for a current role in ABC's LIFE AS WE KNOW IT, Moreau is this film's irreplaceable epicenter. With her radiant smile and unquenchable spirit, she carries this film on her shoulders, and makes it all look, well, easy.

New York Times

"Weinstock does an impressive job of capturing the brave messiness of single life...Her sex scenes have the rare feel of authenticity."

Hollywood Reporter

"Writer-director Jane Weinstock takes you down a well-trod path in romantic comedy, but her characters are smart and funny, the twists are unexpected and, for once, a romantic triangle is presented realistically with the choice a woman must face being anything but easy. There is smoothness to the entire production that is astonishing."

"Mention should also be made of the charms of EASY, starring the striking Marguerite Moreau. Jane Weinstock's movie could only have been made in Los Angeles: her ear is well attuned to that city is very specific hip, multi-ethnic lifestyle."


Newark Star Ledger
"Indie romance is appealing, well-acted alternative to bloated Hollywood love stories... Jamie Harris is nothing like [Bridget Jones]. And the movie that's lucky enough to have her as its heroine is just as fresh and winning."


Film Threat

"In order for EASY to work, everyone must love the character of Jamie, and they do. Keep in mind, this film works not only due to the stellar cast but because of its realism...This film is, well, easy to love. Its humanity, truthfulness and great characters elevate it above the conventions of the typical "romantic comedy." But it is funny, and romantic. This film should also serve to catapult the amazing Marguerite Moreau to stardom."

Moviehole/Dark Horizons

"An exquisite romantic comedy/drama, by a talented first-timer Jane Weinstock, who has written and directed a smart, sexy and irresistible film...EASY is a film about love, sex, family and identity, struggling to come to terms with all. Bitingly funny, the film's humour is derived from reality and a true sense of character. Despite it being directed and produced by women, EASY is no contrived chick flick, but an honest, genuinely sexy comment on relationships distinguished by a star-turning performance by the irresistible Moreau."

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