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Puccini for Beginners (2006)

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A recently-singled New York writer finds herself in two surprising and complicated relationships.

Director:

Maria Maggenti

Writer:

Maria Maggenti
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Barnett ... Catering Boss
Julianne Nicholson ... Samantha
Brian Letscher ... Jeff
Elizabeth Reaser ... Allegra
Gretchen Mol ... Grace
Justin Kirk ... Philip
Tina Benko ... Nell
Kate Simses ... Vivian
Natalie Levin Natalie Levin ... Turandot (as Natalie Havermeyer)
Mimi Molligher Mimi Molligher ... Woman in Elevator
Maggie Moore Maggie Moore ... Woman in Park
Craig Archibald ... Man in Park
Yasu Suzuki ... Sushi Chef 1
Yoshiro Kono ... Sushi Chef 2
Jennifer Dundas ... Molly
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Storyline

Allegra, an opera-loving writer in New York, eschews commitment, so her girlfriend, Samantha, leaves her. Allegra misses Sam, and resents the accusation that she's afraid to say "I love you," but she's soon involved with two people - Grace and Philip - who, unbeknownst to her, have just broken up with each other. Allegra juggles the two affairs, telling neither about the other; each likes her more and more as her old fears start making her itchy. Things come to a head at an engagement party where Allegra is pinch-hitting as a catering assistant. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A love triangle of operatic proportions See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 February 2007 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Triangle of Love See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,380, 4 February 2007

Gross USA:

$89,464

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$110,864
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Julianne Nicholson and Gretchen Mol have acted in HBO show Boadwalk Empire. See more »

Goofs

If you look really close during the first sex scene between Philip and Allegra, you can see Philip's underwear. See more »

Quotes

Allegra: Those who break up with me usually earn my life long devotion.
See more »

Connections

References The L Word (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Woody Allen for Beginners
17 August 2007 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

Written and directed by Maria Maggenti, "Puccini For Beginners" is a tres chic romantic comedy set in a movie-spawned Manhattan where virtually everyone we meet is Caucasian, trendily upscale and sexually conflicted.

The strained setup lands somewhere between a labored screwball sex farce and a recycled Woody Allen angst-fest: Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) is an opera-loving, afraid-of-commitment lesbian who finds herself inadvertently and simultaneously dating both a man (Justin Kirk) and his longtime girlfriend (winningly played by Gretchen Mol). As Allegra bounces back and forth between her two oblivious paramours, the characters talk out the issues of their relationships as if they were channeling left-over bits from "Annie Hall" or "Manhattan."

"Puccini for Beginners" is one of those small-scale independent features that thinks it's being smarter and more insightful about romantic relationships than it really is. Actually, after all those really sharp Woody Allen exposes on the same subject, very little in this film feels like fresh observation. To be truthful, with the exception of Mol's winsome Grace, most of the characters here are more annoying than they are appealing. Not only are the plotting and much of the writing too cutesy by half, but so is Maggenti's directorial style, which relies heavily on smart-alecky narration, freeze-framing, and dopey fantasy sequences to generate laughs.

"Puccini for Beginners" offers a few genuinely funny moments within its blessedly short 81-minute running time, but throughout we're plagued by the nagging and irreverent suspicion that the film might have been more accurately entitled "Puccini for Idiots."


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