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Kissing Jessica Stein

Entertainment Weekly

Lisa Schwarzbaum

(Updated) MAR 17, 2020

It’s her mother who’s interesting. In the past decade or so, Tovah Feldshuh has taken a lot of roles in the category defined by dramaturges and Yiddishists as baleboosteh — part peerless homemaker, part professional ball of fire — in characters ranging from high-powered defense attorney on ”Law & Order” to Catskill mama in ”A Walk on the Moon.” But I’ve never seen Feldshuh steal the show so completely and definitively as in one scene in ”Kissing Jessica Stein” where the Jewish-mama act is dropped and real loving connection takes place between mother and daughter. It’s a scene so unlike any other in this skim-decaf-cappucino cup of cinema that it actually throws the rest of the movie into disarray — a scene in which an older actress says, ”Okay, girls, you’ve got the frothy lines, but I’ll show you some hot stuff.”

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