Miles and Ellie, a new play by Don Zolidis, has just the sort of script the Montgomery Theater loves: a rom-com trading in the difficult relationships and dysfunctional family dynamics of the comfortable class. It's an evening's entertainment that is by turns sweet, sad, funny, ridiculous, and, despite some fine performances, grating.
Narrated by Ellie (Rachel Brennan), the couple's tale unspools through two episodes. Act 1 presents the blossom and wither of a high school romance; Act 2 occurs 20 years later, when Ellie returns home for Thanksgiving after a nasty divorce.
The show's problems exist mostly in its secondary characters. Ellie's father, Burt (Tom Teti), a hypocritical Republican state senator, speaks to his family in values-first campaign speeches, while her mother, Mary (Gerri Weagraff), is little more than a sight gag, a cookie-baking, stand-by-your-man paper doll. Meanwhile, an older sister, Illyana (Jessica Bedford), bullies Ellie like a real-life Lucy Van Pelt. Thank Bedford's comic timing for making this character watchable, if not believable.