An homage to midcentury cinemas love of New York, this standard story gains life from a refreshing jazz soundtrack and a weirdly engaging performance by Joaquin Phoenix. He plays Leonard Kraditor, a manic-depressive, artist-manqué whos tried suicide unsuccessfully three times. He is asked by his parents to love the lovely Sandra Cohen (Vinessa Shaw) so as to facilitate a merger between two dry-cleaning establishments, but instead finds himself drawn to the shiksa charms of his blonde-ish neighbor, Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow). Of course, Michelle loves another, and etc. Then, 90 minutes later, youre all, Whoa. Gorgeous cinematography reminiscent of James Wong Howes work adds to the charm, but the show mostly belongs to Phoenix and his surreal performance. Its like watching, well, Joaquin Phoenix, only with a better script.