03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Movie Review: Peter and Vandy

Peter and Vandy is touching and insightful, a film that understands what that first whoosh of emotion in a relationship feels like -- and how quickly love can change and vanish.

Told out of order, the film -- written and directed by Jay DiPietro, based on his play -- balances funny and sad moments and provides a springboard for strong, multifaceted performances by its two leads, Jess Weixler and Jason Ritter.

Like this year's (500) Days of Summer, to which it bears a superficial resemblance, Peter and Vandy, which opens in limited released Friday (10.9.09), shows the beginning and end of a relationship before it gets to the middle section, while telling its story in nonlinear style. That juxtaposition -- which gives the film no true present tense -- takes a few minutes to get used to. But DiPietro makes it work, creating resonance between past and future, highlighting the way the relationship (and the two people in it) change over this unspecified period of time -- and the way some things never change at all.

Peter (Jason Ritter) builds architectural models; Vandy (Jess Weixler) is a painter. They meet one day downtown, when they both buy food from the same street vendor and Peter strikes up a conversation.

Peter is eager, ingratiating, willing to do whatever it takes to get and hold Vandy's attention. Vandy, a shade more confident, points out how often Peter apologizes unnecessarily. They click -- sort of.

As DiPietro moves back and forth in time, we see them as a couple so familiar with each other's tricks and quirks that deciding between dining out and ordering in -- then figuring out what to order in -- becomes a kind of passive-aggressive game, a far cry from Peter's anxious-to-please vibe of the early days.


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