Ira & Abby | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Ira & Abby


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Screwball comedy has always contained a thick streak of romance: screwy people have more trouble finding love, and when they do meet their opposite number, what usually reels them in is the other person's screwiness. Jennifer Westfeldt, who scripted and starred in the memorable Kissing Jessica Stein (2001), understands this principle, and her new project, Ira & Abby, is not only delightfully funny but unaffectedly romantic. Neurotic Ira (Chris Messina) and nurturing Abby (Westfeldt) meet by chance, fall head over heels for each other, and get married in a matter of days; only then does he discover she's been through two whirlwind marriages already. Worse yet, adultery breaks out among their in-laws, calling into question the whole idea of matrimony, and in a sublimely ridiculous climax the major characters gather in a discussion circle with an army of psychotherapists. Robert Cary directed; with Robert Klein, Frances Conroy, Fred Willard, and Jason Alexander. R, 101 min. a Landmark's Century Centre, Renaissance Place. --J.R. Jones

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