The characters populating Nicole Holofcener's "Please Give" aren't always very nice. In fact, several of them are sort of a--holes.

The characters populating Nicole Holofcener's "Please Give" aren't always very nice. In fact, several of them are sort of a--holes.

But this well-rounded and sharp comedy finds a rich stew of unique characters that's seasoned with just enough humor and humanity to make it one of the smartest, finest comedies to come along in a while.

Kate (Catherine Keener) and Alex (Oliver Platt) run a Manhattan furniture shop, which they populate with purchases from the estates of the recently deceased. Their vulture-like business plan leaves Kate wrestling with guilt, which she relieves with over-generous donations to panhandlers.

Meanwhile, the couple crosses paths with the granddaughters of an elderly neighbor. Rebecca (Rebecca Hall) is a technician who administers mammograms and her bitchy sister Mary (Amanda Peet) administers facials in a day spa.

Writer-director Holofcener delivers a great ensemble movie. She creates full-fledged characters who each feel unique and complex and don't all share the same sense of wit. (Diablo Cody, I'm looking at you.)

Her cast is also phenomenal. Keener is the heart of the film, but she has lots of help.

The laughs thin out as the story gets heavier in the final third, but overall "Please Give" is as smart and funny as anything currently in theaters.