Lugubrious meller, concerning a successful real-estate developer coming to terms with his Jewish working-class roots after the death of his tailor father, wallows in self-important bathos. Taking its uptight central character way too seriously — even if lead actor Dan Fredenburgh did co-write the script — pic slowly weans him from his cool, upper-class shiksa fiancee (Olivia Williams) via an affair with a warm, earthy Jewish waitress (co-scribe Doraly Rosa). Meanwhile, Paul Bettany as the waitress’s crippled boxer b.f. chews up the scenery. Pic looks unlikely to cross the pond.
Pic’s gloom and humorlessness trump Jean-Louis Bompoint’s sulfurous lensing and strong perfs by Rosa and Rita Tushingham (as Rosa’s aunt). TV-helmer Sallie Aprahamian relies heavily on East End London locations, particularly a memory-haunted tailor shop with dummies, top hats and half-sewn suits, to add depth to the script’s timeworn trope of a man caught between two women repping plebian authenticity vs. haut bourgeois ambition. Without any overarching aesthetic, pic’s leaden dialogue and stereotypic characterizations translate hero’s cultural reconnection as a merely opportunistic, revitalizing dip in ye olde ethnic gene pool.