Daniel Nemet-Nejat
April 12, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Writer-director Jeff Lipsky believes in the power of dialogue and his audience’s powers of observation. Flannel Pajamas begins with a 10-minute scene, a blind date between Stuart (Justin Kirk) and Nicole (Julianne Nicholson) — a risky choice, but it pays off, giving us the pleasure of watching the initial spark between them develop. They fall in love and get married, but soon learn that love isn’t enough in the face of real-life issues like religion and family. The film’s deliberate pace and talk-heavy scenes are so rich with subtlety that we forgive the occasional digression (a subplot about Stuart’s bipolar brother doesn’t really work). Harking back to the glory days of Woody Allen, Lipsky’s semi-autobiographical work — bolstered by top-notch performances by his two leads — offers an unsparing but compassionate examination of marriage. EXTRAS The making-of is standard fare, but the nine deleted scenes are unexpected treasures. Much like the movie itself, Lipsky’s commentary — on both the film and the deleted scenes — can be too talky, but it ultimately delivers a perceptive take on human nature.

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