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When Do We Eat?

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When Do We Eat?

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When Do We Eat?
My Big Fat Jewish Seder
Starring Michael Lerner, Shiri Appleby, Adam Lamberg, Cynda Williams, Jack Klugman, and Lesley Ann Warren
Directed by Salvador Litvak
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, NTSC
Rated: R

Reviewed by Isobel D. Alverez - November 22, 2011

In the movie When Do We Eat?, we meet Ira (Michael Lerner), who has a reputation for conducting the faster Seder in the west. Which might not be such a bad thing as it sounds. This is because Ira, who manufactures christmas tree ornaments, has one very dysfunctional family life. His dad, (Jack Klugman), is a Holocaust survivor who carriers around a suitcase full of necessities from a stick of pepperoni to a space blanket, just in case he needs to flee in a hurry. Ira's kids include an autistic son, a lesbian daughter, another daughter who is a sex therapist, and a son who has become a ba'al teshuva and is trying to lead a kosher lifestyle. Ira's wife, (Lesley Ann Warren) wants to make her home acceptable for her newly religious son and goes out of her way to try to make this the first kosher Passover Seder the family has ever experienced (with mixed results). The third son, is the wayward one, and he ensures that this Seder will be like no other by slipping his father a tablet of ecstacy. Three other guests are destined to share this Seder with Ira and his family, his one daughter's African-American female partner, a cousin who has the hots for the religious son, and Rafi, a one-eyed Israeli who rented a tent to the family to hold their Passover Seder in, just like the Jews did when they left Egypt.

In some regards, this movie was hysterical. Almost anything that could go wrong does. You are sure to spot an incident or two that has cropped up in your own Seders over the years. On the other hand, this movie is sad in places. The family is just so dysfunctional that you feel sorry for them and all the happiness that they have robbed each other of, because each is so stubborn and sure that what they are doing is right, and everyone else is in the wrong. But mostly, this is a story of forgiveness that plays out as each member of the family - and their guests - come to see each other in a new light. They are lead on this journey of self-discovery by Ira who has become a drug induced Moses leading his people to the Promised Land.

The DVD version of When Do We Eat? includes some special features including: The Rabbis' Mystical Seder, Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes, Actor Auditions, Director's Commentary, and one entitled Visual Inspiration: The Szyk Haggadah. This movie was directed by Salvador Litvak, and it is rated R. I would definitely prohibit young kids from watching it as it includes a bit of adult content. Overall, When Do We Eat? is a movie that is fun to watch. It is filled with some very unique characters who do an excellent job portraying this mixed up family and the life-changing Seder that they experience over the course of this movie.


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