Shiva Baby ★★★½

This is fleet and fun and definitely captures a particular generational anxiety in an excruciatingly real way to the point where my gf and I were constantly shouting “noooooo” at the screen, but a lot of this movie’s buzz has centered around its distinctly Jewish flavor and...eh I dunno. There are notable exceptions where the movie plays off of common tropes of Jewish comedy in ways that also feel hyper-specific and lived-in (the tragicomic running bit about everyone’s preoccupation with Danielle’s eating habits, the mortification of Danielle having to remove her tights and ruin the solemnity of her shiva outfit, the finale with everyone piling into the car at Fred Melamed’s dogged insistence), but far too much of the Jewish content here feels Borscht-Belt obvious to me (“you’ve got schmutz on your face,” “we met at Shul,” etc). It’s not that any of it is inauthentic so much as it’s just kind of broad and shallow, which was a little disappointing after all the hype.

It’s possible that this movie is just so painfully close to my own milieu that I’m taking the specificity of the cultural content for granted and I’m not being totally fair here, but like, I thought Moonstruck was a more nuanced and accurate depiction of Jewish family life and the family in that movie isn’t even Jewish.