Celebrity Jews: At The Movies
Super Troopers 2, I Feel Pretty and You Were Never Really Here
Opening April 20: Super Troopers 2 is a sequel to the 2011 film about five wacky Vermont State Troopers. This light comedy co-stars Emmanuelle Chriqui (Sloane on Entourage), 42. She’s a Canadian of Moroccan Jewish background. Rob Lowe and Lynda “Wonder Woman” Carter also appear in the film. Coincidentally, both have Jewish spouses and their respective children were raised Jewish.
I Feel Pretty, a comedy/drama, marks the directorial debut of the screenwriting team of Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, both 46. They wrote Pretty and their previous screenwriting credits include a string of box office hits, including Never Been Kissed (1999), He’s Just Not That into You (2009), The Vow (2012) and How to be Single (2016).
Amy Schumer, 36, stars as Renee, a cosmetics company employee who struggles with low self-esteem engendered by her perception of herself as not pretty. These feelings hold her back until a brutal fall in an exercise class knocks her out — and she wakes up believing she is a supermodel. Armed now with self-confidence, she begins to live her life fearlessly. Emily Ratajkowski, 26, plays a regular at Renee’s gym — Renee looks up to her because she’s stunningly pretty. But Emily’s character also struggles with insecurities.
Throughout most of the film there is one looming question: What will happen to Renee when the effects of the fall wear off and she realizes she isn’t a supermodel? Will she lose her self-confidence or retain it? You’ll have to watch to find out.
You Were Never Really Here may be the sleeper hit of the year. It was screened last year at the Cannes Film Festival, where it received a rapturous reception from the critics and the audience. At the film’s close, the theater audience gave it a seven-minute standing ovation. The director/writer, Lynne Ramsey, received the Cannes best screenplay award and Joaquin Phoenix, 43, got the Cannes best actor award.
Phoenix plays Joe, a combat veteran and former FBI agent who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. As the film opens, he is a freelance gun-for-hire and his specialty is rescuing young women who are being trafficked as prostitutes. He’s hired by a New York state senator who has recently learned where his daughter, Nina, a forced prostitute, is being held.
Saying more would really be a spoiler — but be warned, there is a lot of violence. There are also a lot of unexpected plot twists. One footnote: Alessandro Nivola, 42, has a small but important role as the governor of New York. His paternal grandmother was Jewish and I spoke to him back in 2008 when he starred as legendary record executive Leonard Chess in the bio-pic Who Do You Love? He doesn’t play a nice guy in Never Really Here, but he couldn’t have been nicer when I talked to him. (If you don’t see Never Really Here in a theater, don’t worry. It was bought at Cannes by Amazon, where it will likely be streamed well before year’s end.)