Film & TV

Jewtopia, With Jennifer Love Hewitt, Offers Earnest Cluelessness

In Brian Fogel's new romantic comedy, Jewtopia, mixed signals are the order of the day, both from the characters to each other and from the movie to the audience. When redneck plumber Christian O'Connell (Ivan Sergei) finally gets Alison Marks' (Jennifer Love Hewitt) phone number, he hopes it will end the nine years he's spent mourning the Jewish college girlfriend who broke up with him because of his religion. Alison, the rabbi's daughter, loves Christian's NASCAR jacket, which she mistakes for an indication of his sense of humor. In fact, Christian just likes NASCAR. He also likes Jewish women. What should make viewers skeptical is that despite living in Los Angeles, he appears to know only one actual Jew — his childhood best friend, Adam Lipschitz (Joel David Moore). He wildly offends Alison on their date by complimenting her "Jew beak" and spends the rest of the movie trying to win her back. But Jewishness never sits right on Christian. While Jewtopia is in many ways just another ignorant bromedy, what makes it unique is its earnest cluelessness. It manages to be offensive to almost everyone.
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Diana Clarke is a regular film contributor at Voice Media Group and its film partner, the Village Voice. VMG publications include LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.