Theatergoers are furiously taking sides about "The Flick," the latest work from Annie Baker, one of the most interesting young playwrights around. The far-from-superficial question is about length -- that is, does the payoff justify spending more than three hours watching three fine actors play menial workers and movie nerds in brief scenes with long pauses and even longer blackouts?

We are in one of the last 35-millimeter movie theaters in Massachusetts that has not gone digital. Matthew Maher plays the middle-aged guy who cleans up between shows. Aaron Clifton Moten is the smart newbie with a personality disorder. Louisa Krause brings quirky sensuality as the projectionist.

The issue comes down to metabolism. Are we willing to slow ours down to learn about these people in miniature encounters meant to accumulate into unusually realistic relationships? Baker and director Sam Gold are masters of the tiny moment, but I can't help thinking that 90 minutes might have been twice as effective.

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WHAT "The Flick"

WHERE Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St.

INFO $70-$80; 212-279-4200,

BOTTOM LINE how many miniatures make an ordeal?