Please Give

Rated 3.0

Writer-director Nicole Holofcener has been making chatty comedies in the vein of Please Give for 15 years now, but the observant freshness of her first couple of efforts has begun to conceal into a mannered dreariness. Please Give follows a group of emotionally estranged New Yorkers tied together by an elderly woman and her coveted apartment space. A couple of mercenary antiques dealers (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) wait like vultures to pounce on the adjoining apartment of their acid-tongued 90-year-old neighbor, whose nieces (Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet) take wildly different attitudes toward servitude and selflessness. Keener’s character feels especially false—she could play this neurotic mom shtick in her sleep by now, and that’s pretty much what she does. The best performance comes from Peet, playing a woman whose seeming lack of scruples and standards masks a withering insecurity.