At their most exasperating, the films of writer-director Henry Jaglom (A Safe Place, New Year's Day) can still pull you up short with flashes of wit and insight. Eating features thirty-eight women (and no men) at a birthday party thrown by forty-year-old Helene (Lisa Richards). Martine (Nelly Alard), Helene's house guest from Paris, uses the occasion to shoot a documentary about female obsession with food. The talk soon extends to sex, love, jealousy, men and each other.

This long day's conversation into night is by turns lively, erotic, instructive and maddening. Even when the pace lags, the actors stay spirited, with Frances Bergen outstanding as Helene's mother. Men are given no chance to defend themselves; some may find that food for thought, others a cause of indigestion.