In "Licorice Pizza," love is dazed and confused and on the run
Starring Alana Heim, Cooper Hoffman, Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Benny Safdie, Joseph Cross, Christine Ebersole, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Skyler Gisondo, Harriet Sansom Harris, John Michael Higgins, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Opens Dec. 24 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, expands Dec. 25 to theatres elsewhere. 133 minutes. PG
In a year when it seemed the romantic comedy had fled theatres for a permanent berth on streaming services, it’s a pleasure to see this delightfully dazed and confused rom-com from Paul Thomas Anderson, set in Southern California in 1973.
Big-screen newcomers Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman play unlikely pair Alana Kane and Gary Valentine, who face a major impediment to love: she’s 25 and he’s 15.
They’re the MVPs of a superb cast, in a freewheeling amorous pursuit that also pulls in hilarious cameos from Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, Tom Waits and Benny Safdie.
Propelled by a killer ‘70s soundtrack, it’s the most fun I had at the movies all year.
(The review original appeared in the Toronto Star.)