Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
Watch On
  1. 75
    Right now, she's like the grade-school girl at the spin-the-bottle party who changes the rules when the bottle points at her.
  2. 88
    The screenplay is written with a thinking audience in mind, the dialogue sparkles, the characters leap off the screen in full three-dimensionality, and the cliches are kept to a bare minimum.
  3. 80
    Westfeldt and Juergensen are smart, sexy knockouts, finding just the right mix of fun and tenderness in their writing and performances.
  4. 100
    Delightfully unpredictable, hilarious comedy with wonderful performances that tug at your heart in ways that utterly transcend gender labels.
  5. 50
    The film is relentlessly peppy, often quite funny, sometimes a bit too convinced of its own adorableness and ultimately as smoothly reassuring as a TV sitcom.
  6. It all works on the level of a sprightly sitcom: lesbianism for the Lucy-and-Ethel crowd.
  7. While this slightly edgy comedy has moments of offbeat charm, it would carry more conviction if the acting were richer and the characters focused on more sophisticated attitudes and ambitions.
  8. A small independent feature that's everything an independent feature -- small or big -- should be.
  9. All too content to be a comedy of surfaces and stereotypes. And because, for all the novelty of the bisexual romantic angle, there's something about Jessica, her New York-singleton ticks and her Jewish-family tocks, that feels...old.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    One of the film's strengths is that nobody -- male, female, gay, straight or Jewish mother -- is reduced to stereotype.
  11. The performers bring freshness to what could have been cliched roles.
  12. 50
    Amusing but extremely derivative.
  13. 80
    Westfeldt and Juergensen keep Kissing Jessica Stein bright and funny and loose.
  14. This is possibly the funniest lesbian romp since "Go Fish."
  15. For an American film it is a groundbreaker in exploring the realm of sexual fluidity, and it does so with wit, wisdom and in a completely entertaining fashion.
  16. Men may be gay by nature, but women are lesbians by choice -- for them, it's a simple matter of trading up. Such is the implied message of Kissing Jessica Stein.
  17. 60
    Eventually Stein's habit of dodging its own issues grows frustrating.
  18. 88
    This movie is about the survival of the open-minded. As far as current American independents go, it's the fastest and the funniest.
  19. A pitch-perfect gem.
  20. It's funny and human and really pretty damned wonderful, all at once.
  21. Starts out as a lark, but veers into grittier, more emotionally complex territory -- just like a real relationship -- that the film doesn't have the chops to sustain.
  22. 75
    Not about sex; it's about leaps of faith, at work, in love, in life.
  23. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    The comedy gets better, and more unpredictable, as it goes, and so do the performances.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    An edgy exploration of role playing and sexual choice in a climate where all options are acceptable.
  25. 80
    These women are smart, funny and wonderfully real, traits that one might safely attribute to Westfeldt and Juergensen, who also wrote the screenplay.
  26. The actual finale, which so betrays what's come before it that it leaves one walking out of the theater holding a grudge against what was.
  27. Something doesn't quite gel in the end.
  28. 58
    Westfeldt becomes irritating. That's one of the film's points, but it's made a little too well.
  29. 88
    Delivers that rare combination of winning traits. It's a low-key comedy with a risque hook -- a seemingly straight woman dabbles in lesbianism -- yet it maintains an old-fashioned faith in literate dialogue, believable behavior and themes that reach beyond the plot points.
  30. 75
    Small, sharply written, incisive comedy examines, with smarts and style and sexiness, the very nature of modern romance - gay, straight, and in between.
  31. 80
    Pays off in laugh-out-loud lines, adorably ditsy but heartfelt performances, and sparkling, bittersweet dialogue that cuts to the chase of the modern girl's dilemma.
  32. Reviewed by: Carla Meyer
    Charming and witty, it's also somewhat clumsy.
  33. Reviewed by: Alex Nohe
    While the film missteps in a few small places, it's charm, wit, and heart make Kissing Jessica Stein one of the few "must see" films of the year; quite an accomplishment for novice filmmakers.
  34. Reviewed by: Lael Loewenstein
    Pure pleasure. A fresh take on sex and the single girl, this buoyant, well-crafted romantic comedy blends pitch-perfect performances with deliciously smart writing.
  35. Reviewed by: Stephen Metcalf
    Smoothly narrated and is packed with some wonderful quirks. Nonetheless, it could have taken more to heart the lovely paradox it reserves for Jessica: that we most become ourselves in our capacity to surprise ourselves.

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