Fast Food Fast Women
dir. Amos Kollek
Opens Fri June 15 at Broadway Market.

"Did you like the movie? I'm curious."

This question comes from Louise Lasser, the brilliant comedic actress best known for her creation of the title role in the legendary '70s sitcom Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. More recently, Lasser has appeared in such edgy fare as Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream and Todd Solondz's Happiness. Today we're discussing Amos Kollek's Fast Food Fast Women, and I admire Lasser enough to tell her the truth.

"No," I say. "But you were great!"

And she was. As Emily, the lonely, yearning, and sexy sexagenarian, Lasser both anchors Kollek's sweet but stumbling romantic fantasy and provides it with its most compelling story line. If there's a reason to recommend this film, which chronicles the romantic quests of four disparate New Yorkers, it's Kollek and Lasser's deft, matter-of-fact handling of intergenerational lust and the sexual needs and appeal of the over-60 set.

I ask the small, fragile Lasser how she enjoyed making a romance at this stage of the game.

"Oh, I loved it!" she gushes. "I knew I had to be this character as soon as I read the script." Lasser concedes that "the story of the older characters is the truer story--probably because the director's older. He's 53. Younger people don't see older people in flesh and blood. But Kollek's obsessed with age."

This obsession finds a home in each of Fast Food Fast Women's main characters, from the 35-year-old waitress Bella (played by Anna Thomson) to Lasser's lonely-hearted Emily, who serves as sexual muse to both a hunky young cabby and a fellow oldster.

Still, Lasser balks when I characterize what passes between the film's leads as "lust."

"To me, it's more about yearning," says Lasser. "And beyond the ages of the characters, what Kollek has made is a romance, and love is timeless. You see a great piece of art, hear a great piece of music, glimpse a beautiful face--you're in a timeless, nameless place. You're in rarefied air, briefly."