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Maggie's Best Laid Plan (Hint: It Includes Greta Gerwig)

The ever-delightful actress shines in Maggie's Plan

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Pickles are sexy. Don't take my word for it, check out Maggie's Plan, the best comedy of 2016, thus far. And for goodness sake, refer back to Crossing Delancey, an under-the-radar romantic comedy gem from the 1980s. In both, an unassuming pickle broker (yes, there is such a thing) plays a pivotal role in the wooing of an unconventional lady--played by Amy Irving in 1988 and Greta Gerwig in 2016--who finds herself in a... well, a pickle... more often than not. OK, no more pickle talk for now. I would much rather talk about Ms. Gerwig.

I'll tell you something I've never divulged before, so please do your best to keep it a secret: I keep a short list of actors and actresses who, no matter what, I would pay full admission to see in any film in which they appear. Names have come and gone from the list over the decades, but it has never grown to more than six names: three actors, three actresses. Over the years, some actors or actresses have drifted off the list for various reasons, usually because they've scaled back their careers, like Albert Finney and Paul Scofield. More recently, the rarely-seen Hilary Swank and the much-missed Philip Seymour Hoffman each had spots on the list. I won't reveal all the names on my list today, but I will say Greta Gerwig has had a spot since her unstoppable breakout performance in 2010's Greenberg. As the title character in Maggie's Plan, Gerwig's idiosyncratic goofiness lights up the screen and everything else—I wouldn't be surprised if her essence could power the marquee at your local cinema.

Maggie, a quintessential millennial fond of penny loafers and long skirts, thinks she can plan everything, which, when embodied by Gerwig, means she can't manage anything: desire, love and certainly not life. Gerwig is surrounded by a brilliant cast, including Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph and, in a particularly funny bit of business, Julianne Moore as a brilliant Danish author who sounds like Elmer Fudd.

A lot of nonsense ensues, but I won't spoil anything, lest I compromise your enjoyment. I will offer a word of caution, though: see Maggie's Plan sooner than later. This is one of those art-house gems that slips into theaters and disappears much too soon, leaving would-be filmgoers disappointed at the missed opportunity. You would be well-advised to plan ahead.

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Maggie's Plan

Official Site: sonyclassics.com/maggiesplan

Director: Rebecca Miller

Producer: Rachael Horovitz, Damon Cardasis, Rebecca Miller, Philip Stephenson, Temple Williams, Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Alexandra Kerry, Michael Mailis and Susan Wrubel

Cast: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel, Ida Rohatyn, Wallace Shawn, Mina Sundwall, Jackson Frazer and Monte Greene