Three years ago, I praised Gillian Robespierre’s “Obvious Child” (read my review here), which starred Jenny Slate as a woman who decides to have an abortion when she discovers she's pregnant after a one-night stand.
Now the two are back with “Landline,” a comedy based in 1995. Slate plays Dana, a 27-year-old woman who’s engaged to Ben (Jay Duplass). Her sister Ali, played by Abby Quinn, is 10 years younger and a little more wild. One day, Ali is going through the family’s Apple Macintosh computer -- the kind with the monochrome display and not-so-floppy disks -- and discovers a file full of erotic poetry their father, John Turturro, has written to a woman who is not their mother, Edie Falco.
That discovery brings the sisters together, but that’s not all the movie’s about. It's about relationships starting, ending, and fighting to remain intact. There are also scenes about the annoyance of having sex outdoors, the silliness of getting an eyebrow piercing, what happens when you call in sick to work and they don’t know who you are, and what happens when you try to buy heroin while dressed up as a California raisin on Halloween night.
Slate is just right for her role and has very nice chemistry with Abby Quinn, a real find, who brings lots of nuance to her role as the younger sister. Plus, you get Edie Falco and John Turturro, who are never bad — in fact, they're terrific in every scene.
Like “Obvious Child,” “Landline” is about people making decisions and then dealing with the consequences. It also has lots of 90s references, like Lorena Bobbitt, “Mad About You,” and Hillary Clinton in a pink suit. To tell you more would be to spoil the fun.
I give "Landline" an 8 out of 10.