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Film review: Eating

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"Eating" is typical Jaglom, though he is not on camera this time.

At a party for three women whose decade-marking birthdays are within a few weeks of each other — one has turned 30, another is just 40 and another will soon be 50 — a bevy of women gather and share their feelings about men, sex and, most of all, food.

Some of this is precipitated by a French TV documentarian (Nelly Alard), who asks many of them to speak to the camera about theireating habits and why they feel as they do about food, which, naturally, leads to discussions of self-worth, attitudes about weight and the perceptions of others.

Occasionally this is quite funny, though some of it is played for tragedy and, in the end, there is a sense that life goes on and we shouldn't be quite so neurotic about the less important things.

But this all-woman cast is neurotic — most of them are incredibly neurotic and some are unbearably neurotic. In a nutshell, they are female versions of Jaglom, which should be expected since he is credited with writing and directing the film.

It is apparent, however, that though each is playing a character, these actresses (the best-known being Mary Crosby, daughter of Bing; Frances Bergen, mother of Candice; and Jaglom regular Gwen Welles) all ad-lib quite a bit, improvised dialogue being a trademark of Jaglom's work.

The result is an uneven film with flashes of insight and some wonderful performances, and other moments that seem self-indulgent and even strident.

There is also an odd moment when Bergen, up to this point the voice of reason in the group, consoles a daughter whose husband is having an affair by telling her that women just have to accept these things, since that's the way men are!

Will it be your cup of tea?

If you've seen other Jaglom films ("New Year's Day," "Always (But Not Forever"), "Someone to Love"), you know what to expect. If not, it might be worth taking a chance, should the subject intrigue you.

"Eating" is rated R for considerable profanity and some partial nudity.