Film: “Shiva Baby” (2020)
What if you paid a shiva call and ran into everyone you’d cross the street to avoid meeting? That’s the premise of Emma Seligman’s “Shiva Baby,” an irreverent dark comedy about a recent college graduate who’s dazed and confused about what her next step in life should be.
For the moment, Danielle (Rachel Sennott) has an interesting side hustle—she has sex for pay with men like Max (Danny Deferrari), a handsome young sugar daddy who thinks she’s saving for law school. During one of their assignations, Danielle gets a call from Debbie, her mother (Polly Draper from “Thirtysomething”) reminding her that there will be a shiva for a family friend that afternoon. Mom treats the event like a networking opportunity and wants her daughter to a) pursue career connections—and thus get off the family payroll and b) look for a nice Jewish boy to settle down with.
When Danielle does show up at the shiva, she does meet a nice Jewish boy—unfortunately, it’s the sugar daddy who was there with his wife Kim (Dianna Akron), a “shiksa princess” as Debbie calls her, and their new baby.
Danielle also meets a nice Jewish girl—Maya (Molly Gordon), her ex/girlfriend. Danielle, you see, is bisexual. The squirminess of the situation provides the ha-has but also the opportunity for disaster.
In this 75-minute film from 2020, you can spot a variety of familiar faces who went to bigger and better things. Deferrari for example is currently appearing as Enrico Fermi in “Oppenheimer,” Molly Gordon plays Carmine’s GF in “The Bear,” and Jackie Hoffmann is the yapping yenta in “Only Murders in the Buliding.” Seligman herself just came out with “Bottoms,” a brand new film about lesbian high schoolers who form a Fight Club to attract pretty cheerleaders. Du herst?