On paper, "Ira & Abby" looks too cute by half: The titular couple meet cute at a Manhattan gym, spend all day together talking and decide to get married. Then the trouble begins, as the besotted couple is forced to deal with in-laws, exes and all that other heavy emotional lifting known as baggage.
It's all too zany and madcap and Woody Allen-redux to be remotely credible, but "Ira & Abby" turns out to be witty and winning, in large part because of its cast. Jennifer Westfeldt, the appealing writer-producer-star of the charming 2001 romantic comedy "Kissing Jessica Stein," acquits herself well in her second outing as a triple threat, lending Abby enough daffy warmth to keep us caring. Chris Messina, as whiny pain-in-the-tush Ira, resembles a cross between Mark Ruffalo and Adam Goldberg, which equals pretty cute.
What sells "Ira & Abby," though, is a supporting cast of fabulous players, from Judith Light and Robert Klein as Ira's acerbic analyst parents to Frances Conroy and Fred Willard as Abby's nutty show-people family. Maddie Corman steals her scenes as Ira's neurotic ex-girlfriend, and Jason Alexander brings his reliable comic flair to one of many psychologists who help prove the movie's central conceit that when the going gets tough, New Yorkers get therapy.
-- Ann Hornaday (Oct. 5, 2007)
Contains profanity and sexual content.