'Please Give'

What's better than a movie featuring Catherine Keener, whose performances tend to feel as if they've been sculpted out of clay -- so earthy, so authentic, you forget you're not just eavesdropping on whatever life she happens to be occupying at the moment? That is what you get in this little gem of a movie from writer/director Nicole Holofcener. Keener is paired with the equally exceptional Oliver Platt, who can make nothing much look like something special without even trying. Here he doesn't have to, because Holofcener has created a funny, poignant observation on their lives as part of a circle of ordinary people who would never spend a moment together if a hallway in a New York  apartment house didn't force shared space on its occupants. The acting collective includes Sarah Steele as daughter Abby, who is not going gently through the teen years; Amanda Peet, as beautiful as ever, as a serial tanner, very brown and very seductive to Platt; and the truly under-appreciated Rebecca Hall, who always gives more than she is asked, and that is usually to play the recessive gene.<br>
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<b>Related:</b> <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/30/entertainment/la-et-please-give-20100430">Movie review: Please Give'</a>
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( Piotr Redlinski/Sony Pictures Classics )

What's better than a movie featuring Catherine Keener, whose performances tend to feel as if they've been sculpted out of clay -- so earthy, so authentic, you forget you're not just eavesdropping on whatever life she happens to be occupying at the moment? That is what you get in this little gem of a movie from writer/director Nicole Holofcener. Keener is paired with the equally exceptional Oliver Platt, who can make nothing much look like something special without even trying. Here he doesn't have to, because Holofcener has created a funny, poignant observation on their lives as part of a circle of ordinary people who would never spend a moment together if a hallway in a New York apartment house didn't force shared space on its occupants. The acting collective includes Sarah Steele as daughter Abby, who is not going gently through the teen years; Amanda Peet, as beautiful as ever, as a serial tanner, very brown and very seductive to Platt; and the truly under-appreciated Rebecca Hall, who always gives more than she is asked, and that is usually to play the recessive gene.

Related: Movie review: Please Give'

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