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Kissing Jessica Stein (2002)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 119
Fresh: 100 | Rotten: 19

A trite but refreshing and comical spin on nature of love.


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 3

A trite but refreshing and comical spin on nature of love.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 16,345

My Rating

Movie Info

A woman searching for the perfect man instead discovers the perfect woman in this romantic comedy. Jessica Stein (Jennifer Westfeldt) is a woman with a solid career as a copy editor, but her love life isn't much to write home about; she's been through a long series of disastrous first dates that refuse to evolve into second dates, and the well-intended advice of her best friend Joan (Jackie Hoffman) and former boyfriend Josh (Scott Cohen) isn't helping a bit. One day, Jessica is scanning


Comedy, Romance

Heather Juergensen, Jennifer Westfeldt

Sep 17, 2002


Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (123) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (100) | Rotten (19) | DVD (20)

The cast is wonderful and the story is commendably free of the sectarian us-versus-them tone of many romantic gay movies.

February 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld's movie knows what it wants, what its limits are, and delivers its delights accordingly.

August 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pure pleasure.

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Westfeldt and Juergensen's wordy script tries for both mainstream and offbeat, but gets lost in between.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Westfeldt and Juergensen are both appealing actresses.

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Venturesome yet unthreatening, this movie is box-office smart enough to seem cutting-edge without ever drawing blood.

November 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sweet comedy about when a girl meets girl.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Charles Herman-Wurmfeld's comedy remains the best film spawned by "Sex and the City." This sharp-tongued story about emotional curiosity and the politics of passion draws on the words of a dead Austrian poet to muse about modern romance.

September 19, 2010 Full Review Source:

I was very angry with the ending of this film.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

What neither the trailers nor the newspaper features written about Kissing Jessica Stein will have prepared you for is quite how funny it is.

February 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

It's the best kind of chick-flick, fun and intelligent without being pandering.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Three years of writing, rehearsing, and performing Jessica together helped develop the film organically for Westfeldt and Juergensen.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Funny, sweet, and intelligent.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

Esta baboseira com pretensões intelectuais possui um roteiro (escrito pelas duas protagonistas) cheio de absurdos e um vocabulário rebuscado que denuncia sua própria arrogância.

July 25, 2003
Cinema em Cena

An indie romantic comedy that never makes it past first base.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

This charming, thought-provoking New York fest of life and love has its rewards.

February 13, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

I'd be interested to see these women star in another movie, but I'm not crossing my fingers that they write another one.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Smart and sassy, Kissing Jessica Stein is a warm and playful romantic comedy where sexuality plays as large a role as any leading character.

November 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Enjoyable, New York-set 'bi-try' romantic comedy with a sharp script and sweet performances by its two leads.

October 30, 2002 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

'Divertida, enternecedora, universal y profundamente sincera, es una de las mejores comedias románticas en mucho tiempo. Una verdadera delicia.'

October 29, 2002 Full Review Source: Moviola

Audience Reviews for Kissing Jessica Stein

I have a girl crush on Jennifer Westfeldt (which seems appropriate for this movie about a buttoned-up Jewess trying on lesbianism to find her [7] true love[s]). Too bad she's all in a committed long-term relationship with hunk-o-man Jon Hamm.

Westfeldt as Jessica is so adorably neurotic and girl-next-door-pretty. My perennial favorite, Scott Cohen, is mean and tough but also sweetly anguished. Jessica and Helen's romance blossoms awkwardly and hilariously at first, but the moment Jessica comes over to take care of Helen when she's sick is a nice turning point. The movie debates homosexual politics a bit, but it doesn't end with a clear message about whether one should be with her own sex or the other. It also doesn't cheapen Jessica's lesbian relationship as a dalliance.

I also love how the script sneaks in bunches of word-nerd humor and suffering artist philosophy. Judy's monologue about how Jessica quitting the school play because she thought her costar wasn't good enough - and only really hurting herself - is a metaphor for her dating life is eloquent and insightful. Josh's realization at his happiness for Jessica's painting and his own novel writing is a necessary reminder for all creative artists. Blech.
July 22, 2013

Super Reviewer

Just a really inspirational movie. It's all worth it for the single scene where Helen is sick.
July 11, 2013
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer

I thought this movie was supposed to be more of a comedy (just my perception, not a misleading trailer as often happens). So I got over that easily and enjoyed it.
January 21, 2013

Super Reviewer

Sexuality in film is a very delicate thing. It can either be very offputting and offends the general public and the LGBT community, or it's innovative without being condescending to the audience or just highly unrealistic. This film is full of realism, it's heartfelt and loving with the relationship between two women, one of whom is straight to the point of repression, while the other is a free spirit who isn't defined by her sexuality in any context. Both are complete opposites in personality, history, and ethics at times. Somehow these women find a strange version of friendship and sexual upheaval, as Jessica navigates the new maze of lesbianism, and her partner becomes increasingly sexually frustrated with the antics of her Jewish princess of a girlfriend. It's a varied path for this girl who has always identified as straight, and is slowly falling into different ways to see herself. In the modern world no one has to stick to their assigned box, and so this film not only explores what it means to have sexual preference, but more importantly whether you love based on gender or based on sex. Jessica is perfectly neurotic, and her character is actually well fleshed out beyond that characteristic. She also fears failure to a great degree, which is another reason why she is so repressed and lacks the conviction to tell anyone about her new relationship. The other two principle roles are that of Jessica's ex (Cohen) and the woman she falls for (Jeurgenson). Jeurgenson and Westfeldt co-wrote the film, and act as equals throughout, always friends during the rollercoaster of their courtship. It's really remarkable while staying classically romantic and sweet. Just another example of gay going mainstream.
November 5, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Judy Stein: And you came home after the first day of rehearsal and said to me, 'Mommy, I'm not gonna do it. I quit.' And I said, 'Jessie, my love, why?' And you said, 'Because my co-star isn't good enough. And if my co-star isn't good enough, then the play won't be good enough. And I don't want to be part of any play that isn't good enough.' And I thought to myself, oy. This child will suffer.
    – Submitted by Letitia L (2 years ago)
    1. Helen Cooper: What'd you do to be happy?
    2. Jessica Stein: Nothing. I'm not.
    – Submitted by Catherine M (2 years ago)
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