Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 1993. Hollywood Pictures, Touchwood Pacific Partners 1. Screenplay by Douglas McGrath, based on the play by Garson Kanin. Cinematography by Lajos Koltai. Produced by D. Constantine Conte. Music by George Fenton. Production Design by Lawrence G. Paull. Costume Design by Colleen Atwood. Film Editing by Lesley Walker.
Excellent remake of the 1950 George Cukor classic is a perfect example of Melanie Griffith‘s admirable talent. She plays a Vegas showgirl who hangs off the arm of her boorish, nouveau riche boyfriend (John Goodman) and makes him look bad to their new Washington political friends with her lack of social finesse. To smarten her up, Goodman hires a bookish reporter (Don Johnson, whose sexiness is hidden behind glasses just as effectively as William Holden’s was in the original) to educate her on the finer things of intellectual living. She at first resists, but a growing attraction between her and her new teacher helps get her motivated. What I like more about this version of the film is that once Griffith gets the ball rolling, she is given more opportunity to truly enjoy all the learning she acquires, something not as well developed the first time around. The “Twelve Amendments Of Christmas” scene is a hoot, while the part where she develops an eye for art in a museum is very moving (similar to Geena Davis in Angie). Douglas McGrath’s script is finely tuned and full of great one-liners, while Griffith and her then-husband Johnson manage to make real sparks fly on screen between them.