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renee zellweger stars as sonia , a young jewish wife and mother frustrated by the constraints of her hasidic community in brooklyn .
her husband ( glenn fitzgerald ) is a religious scholar whose all-in-a-day's-work attitude on sex fails to tame the " fire " she feels within , as so she confesses to the rebbe ( after hearing her fiery confession , the rebbe suddenly gets frisky with his pleasantly surprised wife--and dies the next morning ) .
sensing her frustration , her husband's brother ( christopher eccleston ) gives her a job in his jewelry brokering business in exchange for raw , passionless sex that just fans sonia's still-burning flame .
on the job , sonia befriends ramon ( allen payne ) , a cool blast of hunky puerto rican water who does his own jewelry designs when not working as a grunt in an upscale jewelry store .
can fire-taming be far be that far behind for the ever-smoldering sonia ?
just about everything in writer-director boaz yakin's rings false , starting with the improbably cast zellweger , who does an adequate enough acting job but simply looks too waspy for the role .
a better fit would have been julianna margulies , who outshines zellweger as sonia's take-no-crap sister-in-law .
some of sonia's baby steps toward liberation , such as indulging in a non-kosher egg roll in chinatown , come off as silly .
yakin attempts to spice up the proceedings with a touch of magical realism--in the form of the recurring presence of sonia's long-dead brother's ghost--make the story feel even more trite than it already is .
" i didn't know what to expect .
it's like something you chase for so long , but then you don't know how to react when you get it .
i still don't know how to react . "
--michael jordan , on winning his first nba championship in 1991 . . . or ,
my thoughts after meeting him on november 21 , 1997