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EATING (director/writer: Henry Jaglom; cinematographer: Hanania Baer; editor: Henry Jaglom; cast: Mary Crosby (Kate), Lisa Blake Richards (Helene), Marlena Giovi (Sadie), Gwen Welles (Sophie), Marina Gregory (Lydia), Daphna Kastner (Jennifer), Toni Basil (Jackie), Frances Bergen (Mrs. Whitney Williams), Nelly Alard (Martine), Beth Grant (Carla), Savannah Smith Boucher(Eloise), Elizabeth Kemp (Nancy), Rachelle Carson (Cathy)Jacqueline Woolsey (Janet); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Judith Wolinsky; Paramount/Jagfilm for International Rainbow Pictures; 1990)
“Goes on for too long and becomes overcooked, though parts of it are tasty in an idiosyncratic way.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Indie filmmaker Henry Jaglom (“Sitting Ducks”/”Tracks”/”Can She Bake A Cherry Pie?”) goes to the Left Coast and throws a talk-fest all-women joint birthday party for three women–40-year-old Helene (Lisa Blake Richards), 30-year-old Kate (Mary Crosby) and 50-year-old Sadie (Marlena Giovi–all celebrating the same birthday with 38 guests of various ages and neuroses. The ladies talk food, diet, food addictions, the relationship between sex and food, their personal lives, offer back-biting gossip, and gripe about everything under the sun. The group’s matriarch is Mrs. Williams (Frances Bergen, Edgar’s widow, Candice’s mom), the mom of birthday girl Helene. The birthday girl gets increasingly agitated during the course of the party, as her marriage is on the rocks and hubby is a no show. Mrs. Williams is perhaps the least annoying guest, whose shtick is to confide to the younger girls that her generation responded differently to food and life. The other ladies range in tiresome attitudes from super-bitch Sophie (Gwen Welles), a mousy aspiring overweight 19-year-old actress (Daphna Kastner), the teen’s selfish 50-year-old showbiz agent mom Sadie, and the self-conscious about her great bod French documentary filmmaker Martine (Nelly Alard) busy interviewing the guests about their food expectations and has someone reply on camera that “Food is the safest sex you can have.”

The pic goes on for too long and becomes overcooked, though parts of it are tasty in an idiosyncratic way. It’s an acquired taste, like all of Jaglom’s low-budget quirky films. My taste for Eating dissipated after a few bites, even though my hunger was never sated.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”