Puccini for Beginners

Rated 2.0

A 20-something Manhattan lesbian (Elizabeth Reaser) has a new love in her life (Gretchen Mol)—two new loves, in fact, and, to her surprise, one of them is a guy (Justin Kirk). Little does she know that the two of them are ex-lovers, both on the rebound with her. The new film from writer-director Maria Maggenti (The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love) has appealing performances from a new generation of indie stalwarts (now that Parker Posey, Liev Schreiber and Catherine Keener have gone big time), but they stagger under the cumbersome weight of the script’s contrivances, even as they struggle to inject sparkle into Maggenti’s ersatz-witty dialogue. The film flickers with good intentions, but the final result is flat and featureless, gauche and klutzy where it would be smooth and sophisticated.