While I hesitate to extrapolate broad generational portraits from a film, If Lucy Fell practically demands one, so clearly is it linked to the waning, Generation X zeitgeist. From its bohemian New York setting to the "alternative" soundtrack, If Lucy Fell tries hard to establish its hip, indie credibility.
If Lucy Fell is the story of two friends, who share a really great apartment, Lucy (Sarah Jessica Parker, the Barbara Streisand of Generation X) and Joe (Eric Schaeffer, who co-wrote, co-directed and also had a show on Fox). He's an artist who teaches cute little kids, she's a psychiatrist? psychologist? counselor? social worker? (this is never made clear). All we know is that Lucy's job requires her to sit in a nice brownstone and talk to charicatures who provide some comedy for the film and Joe requires him to play with painfully cute children in a nice brownstone.
Both Lucy and Joe are fast approaching the dreaded three-zero, the age at which, if ancient rituals were adjusted for inflation, my generation would have their bar/bat mitzvahs. They've decided, that if neither of them has found true love by Lucy's thirtieth, they're both going to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. Whether their loss would be mourned is another question entirely.
Strangely, for all our nihilism, lack of morals and direction, we Xers have extremely conservative tastes in love. Romance in the late 90's appears to have more in common with Jane Austin than Jay MacInnerney. Security is the order of the day. Though Ms. Parker does open the movie in bed with her boyfriend, she's wearing a nightgown that looks as if it was swiped from the set of Sense and Sensibility, or Bay Buchanan. Mr. Schaeffer's character hasn't had sex in five years and happily for everyone involved, his taste in bedclothing is similarly modest.
It's obvious from the opening scene that despite a profound lack of erotic tension (in fact, both Ms. Parker and Mr. Schaeffer seem totally lacking in sexuality of any kind) between them Lucy and Joe will save each other from plumbing the icy depths of the East River.
What makes this inevitable union even more peculiar is Jane (Elle MacPherson) living across the street. Joe has been madly in love with Jane for five years but has never talked to her. In order to stave off the big leap he's determined to meet her.
When he does we're surprised to find that not only is Elle everything we expected (tall, gorgeous, Australian), she's more. She's also intelligent, insightful and straightforward -- and has a great apartment. Elle takes a valiant stand for supermodels everywhere by playing the only grown-up in the entire film. Perhaps because of this, or because she wants to have sex with him, Joe decides Elle's not the girl for him.
And poor Ben Stiller. First, his hilarious show is canned by Fox after just one season (which must be either a mortal blow to one's pride or a sign that one's work is of some value), then he gets rejected by Winona Ryder in Reality Bites because he's a successful TV executive who's too nice to her. Now, in, If Lucy Fell, Ben gets dumped for Joe Schaeffer (which is not unlike, I suppose, being rejected by Fox) because he didn't write or direct the movie.
There's something more than just a little unsettling about Joe and Lucy's foretold union. And not merely because it feels, as Lucy says at the end of the film, "...a little incestuous," but that it feels almost hermetic. Lucy and Joe aren't brother and sister, they're practically the same person. This isn't love, it's narcissism.
Perhaps reciprocal self-love is the only solace for
our sad, battered, little generation -- so wounded
by our demented parents, their divorces, their godless
hedonism. If it is, then I'd like to request a transfer.
Personally, I prefer a little more romance in my romance,
not to mention sex. On the plus side it looks like
Elle and I are both single again, and it seems we have
a lot in common.
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