Rosemarie DeWitt stars in "Touchy Feely," a new indie film about a masseuse who suddenly develops an aversion to human touch. Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman filed the following report for NY1.
The casting of Rosemarie DeWitt as Debra Winger's daughter in "Rachel Getting Married" felt just right, because DeWitt, with her brunette earthiness and merry eyes that can turn dagger-dangerous, has the kind of brainy sensual appeal that Winger did when she was the most vital actress Hollywood had going.
In "Touchy Feely," the new indie comedy from writer-director Lynn Shelton, DeWitt brings that radiance to the role of Abby, a conventional soul who is hiding her anxiety, even from herself.
Abby, who lives in Seattle, gives tantric massages, and to keep herself centered, she also gets them from Bronwyn, an aging hippie played by Allison Janney, acting mellow for a change.
But when Abby's bike-shop-repairman boyfriend, played by Scoot McNairy, asks her to move in with him, and she agrees, she begins to fall apart. Suddenly, she literally can't touch anyone's skin because she’s so uncomfortable in her own.
"Touchy Feely" has tart fun surrounding Abby with a family of neurotics who have some inner healing to do themselves. As Paul, her uptight dentist brother, that ace dweeb Josh Pais grows on you, and Ellen Page, as his sweetly stunted daughter, sheds her hyper-talk mannerisms and acts with a new and winning softness.
Shelton, who made "Your Sister's Sister" and "Humpday," is a better director than screenwriter. She's out to portray Abby as under attack from the kind of irrational fear of life that can't be articulated. But one of the reasons audiences to the movies is so they can articulate this stuff.
That said, Rosemarie DeWitt makes it all work. "Touchy Feely" is minor, but she turns Abby into a humble expression of the basket case in all of us.