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Maureen is pregnant and her husband Eddie is missing. Nervous, Maureen shares a couple of drinks with neighbor Kiefer, who tries to rape her and then beats her. When Eddie returns and finds his wife bruised, he goes ballistic, shoots a paramedic and is put in a psychiatric institution. Ten years later, Eddie is released and finds that Maureen has divorced him and is remarried with three children, one of whom is his little girl Jeanie. Eddie goes to reclaim his wife. Written by
An unsuccessfully delivered narrative with confused actors and a terrible mix of dark relationship drama and comic moments produces a roundly poor film
Maureen is a bit strung out and pregnant from her low-life husband Eddie. Their lives are an unpredictable mix of actions that mostly involve drinking and scamming round on the fringe of society. When Eddie is "away" for a few days, Marueen falls in drinking with neighbour Kiefer, who tries to rape her but then just beats her. She explains this away to Eddie so as to keep him from going crazy at her or anyone else but when he does start to flip she calls the paramedics to take him into care for his own safety. However when he shoots one of them, Eddie is sentenced to a mental institution. When he comes out he finds that Maureen has divorced him and has moved onto a much more stable and reliable man in the form of Joey, with whom she has had more children.
Almost halfway in it becomes evident that this film isn't going to work out that well because, before the "10 years later" jump, the love between the two leads hasn't been established to a convincing degree. Given that the narrative is using this mutual attraction (despite all the negatives) as its lynchpin this is a bit of a problem. Other than establishing that both are unstable and using each other for meaning, the film doesn't do that much for all the time it takes up. The second half isn't that much better as Eddie comes out as a sort of watered down Rainman and disrupts Maureen's new relationship with Joey. The script then asks us to swallow that she still loves Eddie to the point where the mere news that he is released sees her flush the last ten years down the toilet.
I can sort of understand what the script was trying to do but it didn't manage to produce anything interest in the aggressive relationships that it paints in the gutter. The characters are where the main failing is. Maureen's character is poorly defined and Wright-Penn doesn't appear to understand what motivates her character and thus turns in a really mixed performance that pushes emotional buttons in each scene but is never consistent. Eddie is OK in the first half of the film as he just seems like a drunk unstable loser but in the second half he is unconvincingly soft. Likewise Penn is strong in the first half but he is unconvincing in the second. Their performances aren't helped by a weird mix of tones at times a dark love story, at other times a cringingly awful "comedy" complete with "jaunty" music being played over a fight on the front lawn or that horrible scene at Joey's bar. Travolta is a bit better and Stanton is a reasonably nice addition in a small role.
Overall this is a shocking mess of a film that spirals downhill from the mid-point onwards. The first half shows potential but doesn't manage to pull off the formative stages of the central relationship and thus fails to set up the second half. However the second half isn't helped by poor development and a terrible mishmash of "comic" moments that simply feel crass and out of place I suspect even if the first half had been a stormer, this second half would have been poor enough to drag it all under. Even the acting talent seems all at sea and unsure of where they stand or who they are. A load of rubbish with little or no value.
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