Ira and Abby (2006)



Critic Consensus: Ira & Abby overcomes the somewhat clichéd plot with witty dialogue and earnest performances.

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Love at first sight has some interesting repercussions a few months down the line in this offbeat romantic comedy. Ira Black (Chris Messina) is a wildly neurotic thirtysomething who can't get his life in gear -- the son of a pair of therapists, Arlene (Judith Light) and Seymour (Robert Klein), Ira still hasn't finished his grad school dissertation, he's been in therapy for 12 years, and can't bring himself to settle down with his longtime girlfriend Lea (Maddie Corman). When both Lea and his analyst inform Ira that they don't want to see him anymore, he decides he needs to make some changes. Ira joins a health club, where he meets Abby Willoughby (Jennifer Westfeldt), who is supposed to sell memberships to the gym but is much better at listening to people's problems. The two discover they have a strong and immediate rapport, and Ira asks Abby to marry him only a few hours later. Abby says yes, and soon the couple are wed. However, it isn't until after they've been married for a few weeks that Ira discovers Abby has been divorced twice already, and it makes him very uneasy about their relationship. Despite more therapy, Ira asks Abby for a divorce, and it sends shock waves through their families -- Arlene begins having an affair with Michael (Fred Willard), Abby's free-spirited father, while Seymour commiserates with Abby's mother Lynne (Frances Conroy), and eventually parents and children are all meeting together in group therapy for couples. Ira and Abby was written by leading lady Jennifer Westfeldt, who was also screenwriter and star for the independent hit Kissing Jessica Stein. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
R (for language and some sexual content)
Comedy , Romance
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Written By:
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Chris Messina
as Ira Black
Jennifer Westfeldt
as Abby Willoughby
Robert Klein
as Seymour Black
Jason Alexander
as Dr. Morris Saperstein
Fred Willard
as Michael Willoughby
Frances Conroy
as Lynne Willoughby
David Margulies
as Dr. Friedman
Judith Light
as Arlene Black
Donna Murphy
as Dr. Goldman
Chris Parnell
as Dr. Silverberg
Darrell Hammond
as Dr. Rosenblum
Kali Rocha
as Tracey
Peter Hirsch
as Dr. Goldberg
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Critic Reviews for Ira and Abby

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (16)

An odd love poem for cynics who have thrown sentimentality into the garbage.

Full Review… | February 21, 2008
I.E. Weekly
Top Critic

The movie benefits from an exceptionally strong line-up of supporting characters beautifully played by a top-notch cast.

October 18, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Ira & Abby has plenty of sharp details, mostly verbal, and it gives old pros and newer faces a chance to show off their poker-faced comic wiles.

October 17, 2007
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Ira & Abby is like its characters: nice with a lot of problems.

Full Review… | October 12, 2007
Boston Globe
Top Critic

It's sunny, oh-so-New-York and ever-so cute, and Messina and Westfeldt, under-used actors, are equally beguiling.

October 11, 2007
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Ira & Abby, in its breezy, low-key way, will make audiences happy -- something [director] Westfeldt already knows how to do.

Full Review… | October 5, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ira and Abby


Another win for Jennifer Westfeldt. In disagreement with friend and Flixster reviewer, Jim Hunter, I think the group therapy session is the most amazing scene in the movie. So many overlapping arguments and grievances aired. I especially love Ira's line that criticizes Abby's penchant for people-pleasing, "It's hard being married to someone who's married to everyone."

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

A couple quickly falls in love and marries, and then they have to deal with the ramifications. This film is remarkably uneven. It is often jaunty and farcical, but there are moments of true pathos that demand we take the action more seriously than we had been prepared for. There is also great truth in the moments when, for example, Seymour says, "It's impossible to ever truly know anybody." But immediately after we get a ridiculous scene involving everybody's therapists and people carrying on ad infinitum. The primary eponymous story offers some fairly charming moments, but the supporting stories often have little to do with the main action and only distract from the people we want to care about. The performances by Chris Messina and Jennifer Westfeldt (especially Westfeldt) often make their outlandish characters believable, and by the end of the film, I wished I knew them better and got to spend more time in their presence. Overall, there's a lot to like about Ira and Abby, but not much to like about Ira and Abby because the film as whole suffers from too much business and not enough substance.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


I'm at least glad to know that somebody is filling in for the psychoneurotic Jewish dilettante while Woody is off parading himself in Europe doing god-knows-what. This movie largely succeeds due to Jennifer Westfeldt, who plays Abby with such au naturale the role seems made for her. The supporting Jewish cast feels like a return home to my favorite genre in the world, so much that I'm willing to forgive Chris Messina for being such a complete jerk.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

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