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Albert and Lucy fall in love, get married, and have a daughter Casey. Everything is wonderful, till success in business distract Albert and Lucy from each other and Casey. They soon divorce and start fighting so Casey beats sues to divorce her parents, to go live with the maid who has been taking care of her. Themedia has a field day, which is only making things worse. Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
Good comedy/melodrama with a unique twist; the self-parody of the movie industry is often ingenious.
Drew pretty much steals the show as the deadpan "reasoner"
character: a child coping in the midst of two selfish,
immature adults. I'd compare her to Tatum O'Neal in Paper
Moon or Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird for the way
she anchors the audience's perspective as the madness (competently related here by Ryan and Shelley) spins around her.
The real comedy lies in the "screwball" plot twist to which the film's title refers (we learn, early in the plot, that it is little Drew's character, not the parents, who is suing for divorce), and especially the story's underlying satire of the entertainment industry. Highlights include how Albert/Ryan's plummeting career as a director parodies those of Cimino (dust, smoke and flies a la Heaven's Gate) and Bogdanovich (starring untalented girlfriend in multi-million-dollar flops). An Andy Warhol style painting of Shelly Long as Marilyn in the background of one scene is just too funny, an example of how understated the true humor can be in this otherwise broadly-played farce.
Some points are disturbing, though: it's made a joke that Ryan is having an anxiety attack instead of a heart attack (try having one), or that his visitation rights are threatened if he doesn't make child support payments (an interesting social comment). Considering the real-life ups and downs of Ryan O'Neal's and Shelly Long's careers, however, I'd say the film's a roaring success.
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