For the title character in "Audrey," an eager-to-please woman in her mid-30s who's smilingly fraught with superstition and anxiety, an all-important, relationship-testing third date becomes instead a testing ground for her self-respect. The comedy unfolds mostly in real time, but its grasp of real human behavior is shaky.
As Audrey's potential Mr. Right morphs into Mr. No-show, the French bistro where she waits for him is transformed into the unlikely setting for an extended self-help session, spurred by her interactions with just about everyone in the restaurant. From the advice-spouting little girl to the stereotypically snooty maître d', the unconvincing Sunday brunch gathering would lend itself better to a broadly played stage farce than the intimacy of film. Fantasy sequences impart a slight edge to the awkward mix of hand-wringing and tomfoolery.
Portrayed by Sybil Darrow, who co-scripted with director Dean Pollack, Audrey is a character whose neurotic worries have all the dramatic freshness and texture of a day-old baguette. She frets about calories and lies about her age but otherwise overshares at nearly every opportunity. While nibbling on crudités and withstanding the withering gaze of the man at the front desk (Charles Shaughnessy), she encounters not just her boss but her jerk of an ex (Ed Quinn), who amplifies her insecurities by flaunting his younger girlfriend (Helena Mattsson).
Edward Asner cameos as Audrey's endearingly gruff uncle, one of the script's many conduits of compassionate wisdom. "Audrey" gets the way that some women have trouble being kind to themselves. But its contrived premise is likely to leave audiences feeling stood up.
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 21 minutes.
At Laemmle's Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills.