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Fast Food Fast Women is a romantic comedy focusing on diner waitress Bella and her customers, as they search for love in New York City. Anxiously approaching her 35th birthday, Bella agrees to a date with British taxi driver Bruno, if only to take her mind off her unsatisfying relationship with married theatre producer George. At the same time, her elderly diner-regular Paul strikes up a connection with 60-year-old Emily, whom he met when answering a lonely-hearts advertisement. The action weaves in and out of these two story lines, at times overlapping to reveal coincidences and a good deal of miscommunication.

Review by Angie Fox:
This thoughtful film, from Israeli-born New York-based writer/director Amos Kollek, is feel-good romance at its best. Not unlike the title character in the recent French sensation Amelie, Bella is a guardian angel - albeit eccentric – who watches over her friends and customers. And in return, wondrous things come her way. As a screenwriter, Kollek’s talents lie in his development of meaty characters. He paints his subjects with a tenderness that provides a vital anchor, particularly when the plot contrivances venture into wacky territory. It is the characters’ well-conceived idiosyncrasies that provide much of the humour in a film where nothing is played for laughs.

The plot is slightly uneven, with Paul and Emily’s relationship proving far more engaging than their younger counterparts. The honest, compassionate portrayal of their relationship, replete with insecurities over sagging body parts or decaying sexuality, would have made an insightful film of its own accord. Testament to Thomson’s unique sense of comic timing, the endearingly awkward Bella soon finds her way into the audiences’ hearts. But this is really Lasser and Modica’s film and the chemistry between them is subtle and heartfelt. As Paul, Modica’s gesturing and expressive face powerfully evoke the character’s uneasiness. Lasser is no stranger to a New York comedy, having starred in four of one-time husband Woody Allen’s early works. Yet, she approaches this role with an infectious energy and a laugh that seems to bubble up from deep inside. 

Where Amelie’s Paris was steeped in fantasy, Bella’s New York captured in natural often unflattering light by cinematographer Jean-Marc Fabre, is one of realism. As with many films shot in New York, the city itself is very much a character, with its hookers, old guys ogling broads on Central Park-benches and stifling summer humidity. The conflict resolution may come all too easily in Fast Food Fast Women, yet the feeling this charming comedy evokes, will undoubtedly stay with you long after the lights come up.

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CAST: Anna Thomson, Jamie Harris, Louise Lasser, Robert X. Modica, Victor Argo, Lonette McKee, Angelica Torn, Austin Pendleton

PRODUCER: Hengameh Panahi

DIRECTOR: Amos Kollek

SCRIPT: Amos Kollek


EDITOR: Sheri Bylander

MUSIC: David Carbonara


RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 16, 2002: Melbourne; September 5, 2002: Sydney; other states to follow

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