Married antique-dealers, Kate and Alex (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) plan on gutting the apartment they own next door to expand their own pad once Andra, the cranky, elderly widow (Ann Guilbert) who lives there, finally dies. When Kate, conflicted with her own guilt, befriends Andra’s granddaughters (Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet), the results are anything but predictable in this devastatingly funny comedy that examines life and death… and everything in between!
The aspirations of an upper-middle-class Manhattan family collide in Nicole Holofcener's caustic Please Give
. Catherine Keener's Kate, who runs a vintage furniture store with her husband, Alex (Oliver Platt), covets the apartment next door--she and Alex aim to expand their living quarters--but the current occupant, elderly sourpuss Andra (The Nanny
's Ann Guilbert), isn't anxious to vacate the premises. Andra's granddaughters, Mary (Amanda Peet) and Rebecca (Vicky Cristina Barcelona
's Rebecca Hall), look in on her more out of a sense of duty than affection. Kate tries to befriend them, but her acne-obsessed daughter, Abby (Sarah Steele), has better luck. After Kate invites the trio to dinner to celebrate Andra's birthday, Alex finds himself attracted to Mary, a narcissistic salon worker who shares her grandmother's sharp tongue (her sister works as a radiology technician). While Alex makes excuses to visit her salon, Kate gives twenties to the homeless, worries that there's something unethical about the way they obtain her merchandise--from the estates of the recently deceased--and struggles to find a volunteer activity that will assuage the guilt she feels about her good fortune. In other words, Holofcener, who has also directed episodes of Sex and the City
, returns to the concerns that bedeviled the women in Friends with Money
. Their knack for saying exactly what they think doesn't always make them pleasant company, but it does make them funny and real, and Holofcener's versatile ensemble rises to every awkward challenge she throws their way. --Kathleen C. Fennessy