WHERE Laura Pels Theatre, 111 W. 46th St.
INFO From $99; 212-719-1300, roundabouttheatre.org
BOTTOM LINE Idina Menzel is fine, but the dysfunctional-family comedy is far from groundbreaking.
Love may be love may be love, but yikes, it can be mind-boggling at times, a message delivered in excruciating detail by "Skintight," Joshua Harmon's far from groundbreaking dysfunctional-family comedy now at Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre.
Syosset's Idina Menzel, returning to New York theater for the first time since "If/Then" closed in 2015, does what she can with the unlikeable Jodi Isaac, showing some strong comedic timing as a successful Los Angeles lawyer with serious daddy issues whose husband has just dumped her (what else is new?) for the much younger Mindy. Or is it Madison? Arriving at her fashion designer father Elliot's swanky West Village town house for solace and to surprise him for his 70th birthday, she finds him not only underwhelmed to see her, but lost in the passion of his own new romance — with the much, MUCH younger Trey.
Love or lust, she wonders, or perhaps just the allure of a vast fortune (consider the half-million-dollar Rolex Trey never takes off). The questions keep coming, as Jodi grasps, mostly unsuccessfully, for any sense of fatherly connection from Elliot, played by Jack Wetherall with an icy resolve befitting the head of a major fashion empire.
Among the irreconcilable dilemmas this play, directed by Daniel Aukin, throws at you is the nature of attraction. Exactly what Elliot sees in this uneducated former porn star is a mystery, though Will Brittain appears to desperately seek some depth from his shallow character. It's tough, though, when he pulls stunts like parading around in nothing but a backside-revealing jock strap (with "Elliot Isaac" on the label, no less).
"Why not a 53-year-old lawyer, or businessman, or painter?" asks Jodi, "…someone who had achieved something — anything?" But to Elliot, it's all about beauty, and in the end that is his driving force, as he searches for something beyond his regular Botox treatments to ward off the inevitable. Ultimately he leaves it all in Jodi's hands, and her conclusion is one many of us have come to at some point. "Love is hard. It's hard, to love your spouse," she says. "Even your parents."