When Do We Eat?

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It’s a shame to admit, but not every comedy should dish out unapologetic language and rude/crude behavior. Believe it or not, the laugh track sometimes belongs to seniors who don’t appreciate humor involving incest and/or child abuse.

Those wholesome types usually prefer squeaky-clean titles like My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Spanglish for shits and giggles; meanwhile their vulgarian kinfolk (e.g. me) opt not to join them in watching such mushy fare and, instead, get baked and stare at porn or another episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force rather than be subjected to two hours of cloying garbage.

Well, one movie out there might bridge this pop culture gap.

Co-writer/director Sal Litvak’s latest effort, When Do We Eat?, offers all of the aforementioned: old people choking the shit out of kids and good-looking cousins shagging, and yet, it’s done without bloodshed or nudity in order to please the conservative viewer.

When Do We Eat? may not be the absolute funniest take on contemporary Jewish-American culture, but it’s at least a decent starting point for Hebraic youths to share the couch with an old school relative who still thinks Alan King is funny.

The movie focuses on the dysfunctional family of Ira Stuckman (Michael Lerner) during Passover dinner. Ira has a sour relationship with his wife (Lesley Ann Warren), Hassidic son (Max Greenfield), lesbian daughter (Meredith Scott Lynn), druggie teenager Zeke (Ben Feldman), and every other member of the family who joins the Seder that evening.

But when Zeke breaks up a tab of “Touch God” (a mixture of ecstasy and acid) into dad’s antacid, the old man’s outlook changes – visually, emotionally, and dramatically enough to enable havoc around the dinner table for an hour and a half of reel time: dishes get smashed, nasty words are exchanged, apologies are accepted, and candy-flipping Ira hallucinates like a motherfucker. And the Stuckmans owe it all to drugs.

However, the drug references in When Do We Eat? are pretty mild. The movie’s trippy premise tricks its stoner audience into watching a touching home-for-the-holiday story with an Old Testament refresher course built-in at no extra charge. Though we’re not alone: last summer Universal Studios succeeded with a similar coup, fooling frat daddies into taking their dates to what they thought was a hornball, gross-out movie, when in actuality The 40-Year Old Virgin was a heartfelt chick flick in disguise.

Litvak pulls off the same bait n’ switch here, suckering foul-mouthed twenty-something schmucks (e.g. me) into firing up the DVD and hoping for crude psychedelics but instead get a dose of family shtick. Nonetheless, When Do We Eat? is worth watching, especially with the alte cockers in your family. Who knows? Maybe the folks in return will chip in on the next sheet of acid. Or at least take a few puffs with you while checking out an episode of Aqua Teen.

by Brian Abrams

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