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A scene from Landline, directed by Gillian Robespierre.

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Landline
Written by
Gillian Robespierre, Elisabeth Holm
Directed by
Gillian Robespierre
Starring
Jenny Slate, Abby Quinn, John Turturro, Edie Falco, Jay Duplass
Genre
Comedy
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English
Year
2017

The 1990s are calling; they want their Landline back. Landline being a zippy and friendly episodic comedy and coming-of-age story from the director Gillian Robespierre, whose well-received 2014 Obvious Child starred Jenny Slate.

In the 1995-set Landline, the scratchy-voiced Slate plays Dana, part of a frank New York family that includes a mother and father (Edie Falco and John Turturro) who lived through the disco era robustly enough to be pretty chill when it comes to their parental relationship with young adult Dana and her sparky kid sister, Ali (Abby Quinn). Dana and her sensitive, vanilla-flavoured fiancé aren't perfectly matched and there's tension between mom and her copywriter/aspiring playwright husband. "Most people learn from failure," he says. "You would know," she replies.

Dad's suspected infidelity is the tension in a film that hammers its nineties setting so relentlessly it could be called Sex, Lies and Videotape (and Floppy Disks and Payphones). There's a great joke about the sitcom Mad About You, in a movie that at its heart deals with relationships after the mad-about-you phase is well over.

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