I fell in love with this wonderful movie when I originally saw it in the theatre, and my daughter has loved it from the age of 3.
Isabelle (Amy Irving) is a nice Jewish girl, but STILL unbearably single in the eyes of her Bubba, played by a loveable Reizl Boyzk. Bubba can't understand why Isabelle is content with being single and living in a "cage" of an apartment. She enlists the help of a hilariously over the top matchmaker played by Andy Warhol veteran Sylvia Miles, to find "Izzy's" ideal mate.
From there, Izzy, as bubba calls her, hesitantly accepts a meeting with Pickle stand owner Sam Posner. Sam is a charmingly likeable and attractive mensch of a guy, played by the wonderful, and rarely seen Peter Reigert ("Animal House", "Oscar" and Seinfeld's last episode). Over lunch at Bubbas, Isabelle ALMOST accepts the date, you can tell part of her sees that Sam IS special. However, she just can't get past her snobbish ideals to see past his "provincial" lifestyle and career to appreciate a man who is unpretentious and genuine.
After being used enough times by a good for nothing married boyfriend, then fixing up a less attractive friend with Sam, and finding herself extremely jealous, she begins to change her mind. The final shove to reality comes in the form of a phony womanizing french writer in town who Izzy idealizes, and gets used again. It is then that she finally opens her eyes and sees that Sam is as her bubbe (grandmother) would say, "good as gold".
This is one of the greatest love stories ever lensed, although it doesn't carry the same cache that many similar love stories such as "Moonstruck" do. Certainly not because it is undeserving of the status, but that's just Hollywood. The stars are not the big names, so less recognition here. This film is superior in my opinion though. It's got a special magic from the ethnicity, the well drawn characters, and the wonderful lower Manhattan setting where we get many wonderful shots of landmarks like the Williamsburg Bridge. Bubbe has a great view of it from her project apartments terrace.
If you're looking for a movie that will make you feel good, or a romantic film to watch with the one you love, cross over to this side of filmaking. This is an unusually fresh and clean romantic tale, devoid of sex to tell it's love story. It's like a throwback to a more innocent time in filmaking like all the Rock Hudson/Doris Day features, and other comedy/romance films of the past. This film retains that magic while still being updated and modern without losing the old fashioned charm it offers in abundance. For this reason, as I said before, it is also a great viewing pleasure for the entire family as well. A rarity in modern film making.