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On their 16. anniversary, during a shopping stroll, the lawyer Nick Fifer confesses his wife Deborah some affairs. She goes wild and insists on a divorce. After they agreed to the dividing up of their belongings, Deborah confesses having an affair, too. Now he gets very upset and wants the divorce for his part, but the last word is not spoken yet. Written by
Thomas Manhardt <Thomas.Manhardt@wu-wien.ac.at>
more like an absurdist play than a movie...but still enjoyable
Now I remember when Scenes From A Mall first came out, it got absolutely atrocious reviews. I wasn't old enough to see it then, but I loved the idea of a movie with two of my comedy heroes, Woody Allen and Bette Midler. In fact, I had almost forgotten about this movie until I read a review of the newest Woody Allen movie, "Small Time Crooks" in which the reviewer said that Allen hadn't had as good chemistry as he had with Tracey Ullman with another actress since Scenes From A Mall. So I went out and found the movie, and the reviewer was definitely correct. The two stars have masterful chemistry, although it's almost ridiculous to believe Woody Allen and Bette Midler would be together, but then again isn't that it in most of his movies. I mean does anyone believe he could have gone to bed with Mira Sorvino, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Elisabeth Shue, I mean even Judy Davis is a big stretch. Well whatever. The problem I had with the movie is that it is more like an absurdist play than a real movie. This married couple go to the mall on their anniversary and both reveal they have had affairs. The film is believable except for the wild and sudden reactions that Bette Midler's character has to Allen's revelations. She knees him in the groin and screams at him. Now nobody enjoys Bette Midler's antics more than I do (think the phone call scene in Ruthless People) but I just didn't buy it. It was like Bette Midler was dying to have moments of big ballsy comedy inserted into a more serious film. Then of course they make up, which isn't very believable either, nor is it funny. Then she reveals her affair and Allen overreacts. At this point I was like in disbelief that anyone would expect us to swallow such a hackneyed and predictable reaction and story set up. Of course they're more fighting, and an annoying mime (hello? they stole it from tootsie) and lots of garish on again off again reactions. Gee I wonder what happens at the end? It's not a hard one to predict folks. It was perfectly enjoyable though, but when you think about it in your head you realize it's really not such a with it piece of work. The movie reminded me of Midler's more recent film "That Old Feeling" where she again overreacts with big screaming fights that are supposed to be hysterical. The couple in that movie also go do an on again off again thing with lots of screaming in between. Like I said, they're both enjoyable and Midler radiates charm but why does she keep saying yes to this terrible s**t? She's a good actress, and she should be doing better comedy's not this terrible lowbrow material, (hello Drowning Mona was beyond embarrasing, its already the worst film of the year). All in all, scenes from a mall is worth it for the great chemistry between the two stars and its pretty cute. But why anyone would think that we would enjoy seeing Woody Allen in a ponytail is beyond me.
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