Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1986. TriStar Pictures, Delphi V Productions. Screenplay by Tim Kazurinsky, Denise DeClue, based on the play Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet. Cinematography by Andrew Dintenfass. Produced by Jason Brett, Stuart Oken. Music by Miles Goodman. Production Design by Ida Random. Costume Design by Deborah Lynn Scott. Film Editing by Harry Keramidas.
David Mamet’s play Sexual Perversity In Chicago is given the Hollywood glamour treatment in this romantic drama that attempts a look at emotional connection in an age that is losing its previously strict rules around pre-marital sex. Demi Moore and Rob Lowe meet at a bar following a local baseball game and enjoy a one-night stand, then while insisting on not making too big a deal of their brief tryst, they get together again, and then when their physical connection turns emotional, become a couple. Moving in together soon follows, which does not meet with the approval of either of their best friends, Moore’s romantically frustrated roommate (Elizabeth Perkins, who like all best friends to the star of a romantic film has poorer fashion sense, a bitter attitude and a string of monsters to deal with) and Lowe’s boorish co-worker (Jim Belushi, who provides the tacky sex jokes so that the male star always looks like a romantic dream by comparison). Their new set-up starts out great but soon turns sour when she becomes more domestic than she ever wanted to be and he suddenly starts panicking about his ideas of youthful freedom, making them wonder if perhaps they got too invested too quickly in what was essentially their excitement over their lust. Neither of the stars, who were both in their early twenties when they shot this, are particularly prepared for the complexity of the material they’re performing here but they don’t embarrass themselves either, rather the problem is director Edward Zwick trying to turn what is essentially a winsome tale of romantic ups and downs in the big bad city into something with the emotional gravity of Love Story. The good times are presented in montage while the bad times are given to us in painstaking detail, it’s a dark and heavy movie that should instead be having as good a time enjoying the bright and happy energy of these youngsters as it clearly has exposing their perfect, youthful bodies. Look for early roles by Catherine Keener as a cocktail waitress and future Will and Grace star Megan Mullally as one of Moore’s friends.