"The Post’s critics highlight original movies that are being streamed and made available on demand. Here are this week’s picks: Just in time for Passover comes “Putzel,” an appealingly offbeat comedy set in the milieu of an Upper West Side deli specializing in smoked salmon and neurosis...The writing by Rick A. Moore is sharp and amusing. And Jason Chaet’s direction keeps things credible yet light....“Putzel” is a comedy, not a documentary. In the Upper West Side of independent movie making, anyone — even a nebbish Woody-Allen-in-training like Putzel — can get away with wearing a tank top."
"Here's what Chaet has to say about the comedian/actress: 'Susie Essman gives a wonderful performance in Putzel. While we all know her as the outrageous Susie Greene from Curb Your Enthusiasm, she stunningly brings her trademark sense of humor to this role while also showing off a softer, more maternal side as Walter's Aunt Gilda, a woman who has raised Walter since he was a baby. I'm absolutely verklempt to have been able to work with her on this movie and to tour the Upper West Side with her.'
I encourage you to check it out; the trailer is really funny and includes a great moment at the end with Dollhouse/Cabin in the Woods star Fran Kranz."
"New Yorkers can be wildly unimpressed that a movie is shooting on their block...Chaet recalls, "We shot everything in the store in a bagel shop while it was closed for Passover. So the bagel store was closed for business, but it looked open. There were countless times that people walked in trying to buy bagels while we were shooting, or about to shoot...And of course there are the typical shooting on NY streets moments - actors get recognized and people try to talk to them while we're rolling. That's always fun when I'm on monitor a block away and some lady is explaining to Melanie Lynskey--while she's trying to do a scene--how much she loves her on Two and a Half Men."
Lynskey fondly remembers these interruptions too, but to her working with Carpenter was even funnier and stranger than New Yorkers demanding their bagels from camera assistants. "I just think Jack is such a great actor," she said of the experience. "And he and his incredible wife Michelle are now two of my closest friends and I cannot imagine my life without them, so thank you forever, Putzel." "
"Now, after hitting the film festival circuit, the movie's producers have released it on multiple online services in the hopes of finding a wide audience for the feature..'It’s a bittersweet romantic comic fable... about a late-20s protagonist trying to break out of a mold,' explained director Jason Chaet.
Online, "Putzel" is "competing with these movies that have real brand names," Chaet acknowledged, but he was reassured by positive word-of-mouth reviews the movie has received. It's been popular in places far from New York City with people who identify with the main character getting stuck in a rut, as well as with its upbeat sensibility, the director said."
You Don't Have to be Jewish: Putzel, The Movie
"The film is embued with warmth; an endless waft of freshly-baked bagels. A movie crafted with wisdom about the pain and joy of living, while offering no hint of synthetic gooey sentiment...It is edgy, (particularly one sex scene with copious amount of salmon), and moving; a witty story of real life disappointments, self-limitations, and courage. As we watch Putzel shed his phobic, fearful small-life self, what began with a tight, small ensemble cast telling a small story about a handful of interwoven relationships, becomes an enlarged symbolic direction for life, itself. Such original, brave, alive films that exist in the raw are nearly extinct, save for the incomparable above-mentioned Woody Allen, and a few other examples, such as the newly arrived, Putzel." Dr. Cheryl Pappas for The Huffington Post
Filmmakers spin an Upper West Side fairy tale with L.A. Jewish Film Festival opener ‘Putzel’
"Once upon a time, there was a magical land called the Upper West Side of Manhattan. And in that land lived a young man named Walter Himmelstein, with the unfortunate nickname of Putzel — “little fool” in Yiddish — who dreaded setting foot outside his village. “We wanted to tell a contemporary fable set in a small town that just happens to be the Upper West Side,” Chaet said from his apartment on Broadway at West 70th Street. “And like all fairy tales, ours has a moral,” Moore said from his own home just half a block away. “All of the characters are stuck inside their own comfort zones. And the message is that you must be willing to risk who you are for whom you might become.” Naomi Pfefferman for The Jewish Journal
“Putzel’s win is well-deserved as the motion picture -- which has all of the makings of a modern-day, real-life fairy tale -- was a festival favorite thanks to its endearingly eccentric story that is as heartfelt as it is hilarious."
"It's an adorable romantic comedy with adorable leads set in an adorable part of New York, and yes, even Director Jason Chaet is adorable (and very, very funny). It's a great film to laugh yourself silly through." Amie Simon for Letterboxd
"The movie is fun. I laughed out loud quite a few times, and while the plot doesn’t require it, I fell in love with the actors. I want to hang out with Walter. I want to watch Sally dance. She is a dancer in the movie. I want to discuss politics with Sid. If Putzel did anything right, it was introduce and explain/explore each character to the point of no return. Himmelstein’s isn’t real, but after seeing this movie, I want it to be. I want to visit NYC and buy a bagel and lox at Himmelstein’s...It’s hard when watching a movie like this to remember it’s an independent film." Ricky Lee Potts, content specialist and freelance writer
"Jason Chaet’s winning debut reflects his background in theater... mainly through the uniformly fine performances of Carpenter, Pankow and Lynskey....A breezy coming-of-age tale, Putzel is as fresh as Uncle Sid’s fish."
"The Upper West Side exerts a stronger gravitational pull than any black hole...what lifts “Putzel” above its recent counterparts is that Chaet and Moore don’t push all the buttons on their keypad...thoroughly pleasant ...charming grace notes that raise it above the ordinary." George Robinson
"A Putzel is a little putz. A Putzel is also a wonderful independent film made by a fiercely talented man named Jason Chaet ... It
was, and is, smart, fantastic, quirky, charming. It is a New York story
and as Jason put it in his remarks after the screening, “a modern
fable...” Aidan Donnelley Rowley, author and blogger
"While not exactly a chick flick, this is a heartwarming romance suitable for any first date. The characters are lovingly built -- Song the Korean cook (Steve Park), Tunch the fish obsessed delivery boy (Fred Berman), and Sid's clueless wife Gilda (Susan Essman) all seem like your best friends...Fun and bit fluffy, it's a gorgeously human film complete with a fish fight." Carl Gauze for Ink19
"This is sweet-tempered and slightly neurotic. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear this is some lost Woody Allen movie from the 70s that was strangely transplanted into the 21st century...those who love Manhattan and Annie Hall will do back flips when they see this...Even if you don’t have lox running through your veins or a soul of gefilte fish you can still find plenty of reasons to love this charming, quirky movie whether it is for the moments of unexpected inappropriateness or the sweet charm that never gets cloying, like too much Manischewitz wine. Given the solid performances and the overall environment created, this can appeal to the Jewishness in all of us." Carlos deVillalvilla via Cinema 365
"Director Jason Chaet and screenwriter Rick Moore have made an endearingly eccentric motion picture that will simultaneously move you and make you laugh. Accentuated by an infectious theme song, relatable-albeit-exaggerated situations and a likeable cast, this offbeat flick will forever change how you look at whitefish and lox." Joseph Airdo, member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society and Phoenix Movie Examiner
"Putzel is a film for anyone who loves small-town living in a big city, smoked salmon, or pale geeky Jewish boys. And if you’re a fan of all three, well, strap in. Like any good modern-day fable.with its quirky charm, relatable humor, and refreshing simplicity, it succeeds. Jewish or otherwise, we could use more stories like Putzel today." Megan Sass, for HEEB Magazine
"Saw the film. LOVED IT to pieces. And I am not an easy audience...After watching PUTZEL, I am even more committed now to casting projects that make the world a happier, gigglier place...Here’s to our industry making...more and more indies with laughter and heart. Films that make us pee in our pants a lil’ bit, with wit and charm and characters we fall in love with. Here’s to more films like PUTZEL..being made with damn great actors, even on Ultra Low contracts, because agents support their clients doing a film that’s tight, smart, funny and relatively commercial content-wise, without having to have studio backing." Brett Goldstein, casting director
"What's a Putzel? It's an unexpectedly delightful film. Mixing the quirky intimacy of Garden State with the classic guffaws of Woody Allen's Manhattan, Putzel outshines them both with its surprisingly broad appeal. Even if you don't know belly lox from nova or gefilte fish from a knish, one can't help but be uplifted by this universal story of family confrontation, individual struggle and eventual triumph. This is a terrifically funny New York indy film with a benevolent sense of life audiences will enjoy nationwide." Jonathan Hoenig, Fox News Contributor and Portfolio Manager, CapitalistPig.com