The Great New Wonderful
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Product Description A wonderful comedy about life in New York from the director of Dude, Where's My Car? and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. Amazon.com A rich portrait of life in New York in the wake of disaster, The Great New Wonderful offers a kind of compassion rare in film. Five storylines intertwine--including competitive pastry chefs (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Secretary, and Edie Falco, The Sopranos), an elderly woman (Olympia Dukakis, Moonstruck) realizing she can't stand her lumpish husband, and a middle-class parents (Judy Greer, Arrested Development, and Tom McCarthy, Syriana) coping with their increasingly sociopathic child--all of them thick with brilliantly observed social tension. As a therapist (Tony Shalhoub, Big Night) questions a patient (Jim Gaffigan), it's ambiguous whether he's diagnosing the patient's anger or actually causing it. The Great New Wonderful makes compelling drama out of the subtle discords of commonplace life, the kind of frustration and hostility that rises up constantly but has to be tamped back down in order to get through the day--but in the aftermath of a catastrophe like 9/11, the smallest things become unbearable. The Great New Wonderful doesn't rise to the scope of Robert Altman's best work (like Nashville), but it successfully avoids the forced pretensions of other ensemble pieces like Magnolia. Subtlety is too often invoked to excuse a lack of substance, but this movie genuinely makes small nuances tangible and compelling. --Bret Fetzer