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DVD Review: When Do We Eat?

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You know it's going to be a bad day when you need two boxes of matzah on the night of the first seder. Sure enough, a family's biggest problems come to light as they try to get through the "world's fastest Passover seder," which turns out anything but. Instead of rock 'n roll, prepare for sex, drugs, and zany antics of the Jewish kind.

Ira and Peggy Stuckman (Michael Lerner and Lesley Ann Warren) head the diverse blended family consisting of a son addicted to drugs and whose Dad thinks he cured him; a yuppie-turned-Hassidic son who won't work with Dad in his Christmas ornament business; a daughter who is a sex therapist and Dad knows it; a daughter who is a lesbian from Ira's first marriage; and an autistic son. Bring together a family like that, and you know it's not going to be an ordinary or speedy seder.

still from the movieIra and his father Artur (Jack Klugman) lost most of their family during the Holocaust. Grandpa is still angry with Ira for not going into the family haberdasher business and makes him feel like the least favorite despite being the only surviving child. Still, Ira urges his Hassidic son to go into the Christmas ornament business.

Out of respect for her recently turned Hassidic son, Peggy hires Rafi, a tough-looking Israeli with an eye patch, to build the tent so the family can hold a seder like the old days, complete with pillows and lamb roasting on a spit. Before the seder begins, the drug addict fetches antacid for Dad and adds Ecstasy to give him a different perspective. That's only the beginning of the family's journey as Dad starts seeing things, including Moses, and starts believing he, like Moses, must lead the family out of darkness into the promised land of acceptance and forgiveness.still from the movie

Though a spoof-style comedy, the story intertwines humanity and lessons without an overdose of sweetness. The family gathering can easily be seen as a Thanksgiving gathering, a Christmas dinner, or any other family get-together where members clash over who they are and what they want others to be.

When Do We Eat? rolls humor, quirkiness, Jewish traditions, inspiration, spirituality, and a dysfunctional family into a 90-minute funfest. Don't expect it to be the funniest movie ever. If you're okay with Jewish and drug humor, prepare for a good time as the movie contains plenty of laugh-a-lot moments and plenty of witty and animated dialogue.

The Good: Funny, with spirituality thrown in – but not so much that it'd drown a matzo ball.

The Eh: Folks who don't like offensive humor about specific groups won't like this one. The movie goes a little too far when one son reveals something unexpected.

Interesting tidbit: Director, Sal Litvak worked on the movie with his wife, Nina Davidovich.

Closed-Captions: The movie comes with English subtitles – to use them, turn them on in the Main Menu.

Report Card:4 Stars
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About Meryl K Evans

Meryl K. Evans, Content Maven, is the author of "Brilliant Outlook Pocketbook" and the co-author of "Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites." She has written and edited for a bunch of places online and off. A native Texan, she lives a heartbeat north of Dallas in Plano, Texas with her husband and three kiddos.