Movie Review: “Putzel,” at the Florida Film Festival

2half-starJason Chaet’s wafer-thin romantic comedy “Putzel” is about a put-upon loser, Walter (Jack T. Carpenter) who only wants to inherit the family business, Himmelstein’s House of Lox.

It’s all he’s known and all he’ll probably ever know. It’s how the Upper West Side sees him, the kid (30ish) who knows his whitefish.

His wife’s ditched him, the guy she cheated with (Adrian Martinez) can’t understand why Walter would hold a grudge. His Uncle Sid (John Pankow) owns and runs the place, but would love to sell it out from under Walter to finance his dreams of running off with a woman who isn’t his wife.

He’ll not feel guilty about it either, no matter what Putzel pleads.

Jewish “guilt is like the GPS of the Soul!”

And that woman (Melanie Lynskey) also has Walter the Putzel’s attention. Will the downtrodden Walter convince Sally (Lynskey, of “Win Win” and “Perks of Being a Wallflower”) that her future lies with him? And is his future in lox?

The performances have a dry, predictable charm about them, with Lynskey alone suggesting layers of hurt and fear and vulnerability beneath the veneer the script created for Sally. There’s a nice sprinkling of Hebrew and Yiddish slang, a cute sense of place. But “Putzel” leaves you hungry for something more than a bagel, with or without lox.

Showings: Floridafilmfestival.com

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