"Jane Wants a Boyfriend" is the sweet, touching story of Jane (Louisa Krause), a 25-year-old costume designer and movie buff with Asperger's syndrome, who's ready to start dating. That is, if she can bypass the watchful eye of her well-meaning actress sister, Bianca (Eliza Dushku), who has spent a lifetime protecting the shy, unpredictable Jane.
Enter Bianca's old friend Jack (Gabriel Ebert), a charismatic sous chef who sees beyond Jane's challenges and is taken by her unaffected beauty and offbeat charm. Jane responds in kind, more conscious of what she may be getting into than Bianca and her fiancé (Amir Arison) give Jane credit for.
Director William Sullivan and writer Jarret Kerr (who also acts here) bring a nice mix of spirit, buoyancy and candor to the proceedings without overplaying the more painful aspects of Jane's condition. The many push-pull scenes between Jane and Bianca are especially strong — as are Krause and Dushku.
The film stumbles, however, in several supporting characterizations, including Jane and Bianca's sitcom-like parents (Polly Draper, Gregg Edelman) and the wildly pompous director (Nick Stevenson) of Bianca's latest theater production. Still, "Jane's" affecting emotional core and cathartic conclusion carry the day.
"Jane Wants a Boyfriend"
Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills.