Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Romance 4 Film Favorites |
The Goodbye Girl, Her Alibi, Best Friends, Forget Paris
Actors: Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds, Goldie Hawn, Billy Crystal, Debra Winger
Directors: Richard Benjamin, Norman Jewison, Bruce Beresford
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Her Alibi Forget Paris The Goodbye Girl Best Friends
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A change of pace for a Hawaiian P.I., a referee in love, a n
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 11/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know if I quite agree with this dvd package's title boast that these collected flicks are "4 Film Favorites." But I'm not turning my nose up at it either. ROMANCE - 4 FILM FAVORITES is a respectable collection of romantic comedies, with three of the four featured films (HER ALIBI, BEST FRIENDS, and FORGET PARIS) placing reasonably high up on my personal list, and THE GOODBYE GIRL (the remake, not the classic) being merely okay. All the movies here are presented in widescreen format except HER ALIBI, which is in full screen. It's worth noting that most of these films take time to explore relationships rooted more or less in grounded reality. Only in HER ALIBI do things tend to consistently veer into farcical territory.
HER ALIBI, released in 1989, has Tom Selleck showing off his comedic skills and supermodel Paulina Porizkova showing off other things. Selleck plays Phil Blackwood, a schlocky mystery writer stricken with writer's block who runs into a mysterious Romanian damsel in distress named Nina. When Nina is suspected of murder, Phil pretends to be her alibi. Cue now the breezy intrigue and the wacky shenanigans and the KGB getting clowned.
I have fond memories of HER ALIBI. I remember thinking, when this film first came out, how refreshing a change this role was for Tom Selleck, away from MAGNUM, P.I. The character he plays here is a bit of a yellowbelly, but, thanks to Selleck's charm, is still made utterly warm and likable. I laughed a bunch of times in this film as Selleck is reduced to a paranoid yet yearning wreck, nervously wondering if the foreign beauty is actually out to kill him.
- Nina: "Is that why you gave me this alibi? To get ideas for your book?"
- Phil: "No, I didn't. I did it because I knew you were innocent. And I love you."
- Nina: "You do not love me. You're afraid of me!"
- Phil: "Well, fear is part of any healthy relationship!"
I swear I've never seen poor Tom Selleck get abused so much in a film (other than in Folks!, of course). Too, Tom's voiceover reading of passages from his latest thriller serves as an amusing counterpoint to the actual, more mortifying events which befall him. Concerning Paulina Porizkova, it didn't take too long for Hollywood to realize that she didn't have it as an actress. But here her stiffness actually benefits her role, which is, after all, supposed to be that of an enigmatic femme fatale. And, lest all of dudedom forget, above all else, Paulina Porizkova was back then all kinds of hot.
THE GOODBYE GIRL begins with a heartbreak, as 36-year-old ex-dancer (and romantic doormat) Paula McFadden is dumped by her flighty actor boyfriend, just when they and Lucy, Paula's precocious 10-year-old, had planned to move to California. And, because the boyfriend is a serious heel, he also sublets his apartment (in which he'd been living with Paula and Lucy) to a fellow actor, the fast-talking Elliott Garfield. Out of options, broke as can be, Paula is forced to take on Elliott as a roommate. And, with that, one of the most winning romances ever viewed on cinema takes flight.
Except that, of course, this isn't the original 1977 classic which starred Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss (in an Oscar-winning performance, see The Goodbye Girl). This is instead the 2004 TNT remake, with Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton (EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND), and it only goes to prove all over again that it's not easy to catch lightning in a bottle, let alone do it twice. Daniels and Heaton simply don't have the spark that Dreyfuss and Mason had, even if most of the scenes and the dialogue are lifted straight from the original. Neil Simon's fabulous screenplay still shines, but the new leads fail to bring it to full luster.
When you get right down to it, the telling factor is that Jeff Daniels is simply not Richard Dreyfuss. He doesn't quite have Dreyfuss's flair or glibness of tongue. When, near the end, Daniels bemusedly accuses Heaton, "You sure love a love scene, don't you?" - something's missing, a certain tone or punctuation. Dreyfuss made this character so much his own that no one else can do equal justice to any of his dialogue, even the "one-eyed Episcopalian kangaroo" speech. However, Richard III played all swishy by whosoever is always good for a few laughs. By no means is this version a despicable film; it's actually not half bad. It's just not bottled lightning.
The last two films deal with dissolving marriages, which apparently can also be a source of funny.
Coming out in 1982, BEST FRIENDS is the oldest and most bittersweet film in this collection. 1982 was back when Burt Reynolds was still considered a box office sure thing, and this flick didn't do anything to alter that perception. Reynolds and Goldie Hawn play live-in lovers, as well as screenwriting partners, who one day embark on a marriage (actually, it was Burt's character who wanted to get hitched), after which point their erstwhile harmonious relationship begins to crumble.
Bolstered by the star creds of Reynolds and Hawn, BEST FRIENDS isn't a straight-up romantic comedy, but more of a serio-comic glance at the highs and lows of love and of love after marriage. In that sense, it doesn't follow your typically fluffy and false-jeopardied romantic arc. As the couple's relationship becomes progressively strained, I really didn't know if a happy ending was in the works.
Some of the best parts happen when, half an hour into it, the film segues into a road movie, as the newlyweds call on their respective (and eccentric) in-laws. Jessica Tandy, by the way, is solid as Goldie's mom. BEST FRIENDS has its share of comedic moments but there are also lulls here and there. And, at times, the two main characters achieve a certain level of dullness. But I like that the situations are treated semi-realistically and in a low key, natural fashion. There's pain here and the gradual setting of quiet despair, both telltale signs of soured love. Burt and Goldie are very good as two people who, after years of living together, find out that they're still strangers to each other.
In his film career, Billy Crystal had a miniscule span of time in which he was a bonafide romantic lead. Basically, there was the unforgettable When Harry Met Sally... (Collector's Edition). And, in 1995, there was FORGET PARIS. In that one, Crystal plays basketball referee Mickey Gordon, who travels to France to bury his father. When the French airline somehow misplaces his father's body, Mickey meets airline executive Ellen Andrews (Debra Winger). And, since they're in Paris, the inevitable happens.
FORGET PARIS's story is told mostly thru flashback. As friends congregate at a restaurant, they take turns reminiscing about Mickey and Ellen, who both are late to the dinner party. And, because these friends are played by polished supporting actors (Joe Mantegna, Julie Kavner, Cathy Moriarty, etc.), this narrative device goes down pretty smooth. Specially great is Cynthia Stevenson, who plays the oh-so-sentimental soul Liz. Helping to establish that romantic old-movie feel, Crystal and Winger, who display a nice chemistry, are serenaded by timeless standards penned by the likes of Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, the Gershwin brothers, and Irving Berlin.
And, for hoops junkies like me, there's the added bonus of cameos by real life NBA luminaries: Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Bill Walton, Marv Alpert, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, just to name a few. In fact, one of the funniest gags in the film involves Mickey ejecting just about everyone on the court, including Kareem Abdul Jabbar on his farewell game. However, that doesn't bust the gut as much as the priceless sequence with Ellen and that poor pigeon. Meanwhile, Billy Crystal is at his puckish best and even gets some chances to crack wise at the French. All in all, a funny and even thoughtful romance between two 40-somethings who believe in second and third chances at love. I thought it was pretty good.
So, four films, spread out on both sides of two discs, with no special features attached except for scene selections and the theatrical trailer for FORGET PARIS. But, bare bones as it is, it's not a bad get. These flicks may fall short of being absolutely must-see classics, yet they're entertaining enough that they're worth seeing at least once. And, with FORGET PARIS and HER ALIBI, definitely worth seeing more than once. "You sure love a love scene, don't you?" asks the dude. Well, yes, I sure do."
Romance: 4 Film Favorites
G. Carver | Gainesville, Texas USA | 04/20/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are four light hearted movies that leave you feeling better after having watched them."