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:: Fast Food Fast Women

This film won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, and it finally comes to Australian cinemas. “Fast Food Fast Women” is a delightful and witty film about lonely people looking for love in New York City. If you have an appetite for something sexy and fresh, you’ll enjoy the colourful characters. As a romantic comedy, Kollek sets a certain weirdness apart from other films in the genre, by containing the frivolous details on its own two feet with the capable cast and quirky screenplay.

The film has dual storylines that weave together in strange ways. In the first instance, there is Bella (Anna Thomson), a diner waitress who, on the eve of her 35th birthday, is reassessing her life, in particular her relationship with an older, married man (Austin Pendleton). This, and her mother’s endless hassling, leads Bella to accept a blind date with Bruno (Jamie Harris), a divorced Englishman. He keeps mum on the fact that he is solely raising two children.

Meanwhile, in the diner, we meet Paul (Robert Modica), a shy widower who hangs around some cranky old mates. This starts to wear thin on him and he takes out a personal ad in the paper, hoping to meet a lady to give him the companionship he wants. He meets Emily (Louise Lasser), a lively widow who is looking for some physical attention as well as a time of happiness.

The stories keep intersecting in amusing ways at times. It’s interesting to note that, unlike other such films, the building of a relationship, by people older than sixty, should be commended. These two affairs lead to familiar territory, but Kollek engineers some extra colouring and complications to make the film lighter and humorous. Paul’s friend Seymour (Victor Argo) is infatuated by an exotic dancer. Then, there is a Polish prostitute, Vitka (Angelica Torn, daughter of Rip Torn). It adds up to an eclectic tale of lonely eccentrics.

Therefore, credit to Kollek’s writing style in the cohesion achieved, and his direction. The actors do a fine job and there are some good quotes throughout. Anna Thomson’s air of self-deprecation comes over well and she is the bright spot in the film. Her sad eyes make her an interesting character. New York is viewed in a muddy way, particularly around Bella’s day-to-day living. Her rescue of an old woman from a mugging incident would eventually lead to an unusual situation.

I believe Kollek provides the warmth and empathy suitable for the audience at large. There may be some unlikely and goofy occurrences at times, but it makes one rise to its level of charm, and the fact that certain people live in the New York City.

Screening at the Rivoli Cinemas and Classic Cinemas.