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In addition to declaring that Katharine's (Lynn Redgrave) head and heart line are hopelessly fused into one "simian line", eccentric palm reader/fortune-teller Arnita (Tyne Daly) makes a dire prediction: By the end of the year, one of the couples present at a Halloween party will have broken up. But will it be Katherine and her much-younger boyfriend Rick (Harry Connick Jr.); her upstairs tenants Marta and Billy or new yuppie neighbors Sandra (Cindy Crawford) and Paul? Fueled by Arnita's prediction, each of the couples begins to drift apart in a sea of doubt and distrust. Can the "divine" intervention of two well-meaning ghosts (William Hurt and Samantha Mathis) keep these earthly conflicts from erupting into multiple self-fulfilling prophecies? Written by
In the "Thank You" section of the credits, "Kiehls" is misspelled with an extra "l" as "Kielhls." "Expendables Plus" is misspelled as "Expenables Plus." "Moet et Chandon" is misspelled as "Moet et Chandun." See more »
There are 8 million stories in Manhattan. This ain't one of them. This story takes place in Weehawken, New Jersey, right across the river.
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Misguided, miscast, badly directed, television styled movie for the biggish screen
The Simian Line (2000)
There are attempts at stylizing, moments of humor, apparent insights into contemporary life in New York (and New Jersey), and a kind of cheap glamorizing of people who already very glamorous. There's a very starry cast (big names drop like snowflakes, and have has much resilience), but between a television kind of tawdry filmmaking, a stumbling overreaching plot, and just plain bad directorial decisions, it's pretty awful.
In fact, the longer you watch it, the more you wonder at how so many people could have been involved in something that went so wrong. The director Linda Yellen is known for a line of increasingly awful television movies, poorly made and either sentimental or pushy. This is not officially made for t.v. but it has the same feel, with dissolves used for convenience rather than effect, with flat or bright lighting and still cameras, with actors who are determined to act normal, and normal is pretty dull when you take it literally. Some odd additions might not help--Harry Connick Jr., who is charming as a sit-com guest doesn't hold his own, and Cindy Crawford, who of course has mostly to look pretty, making you realize this is what most actresses do, and just as well.
The music is sappy to boot. Which reminds you of all those movies who want to make you feel something by pulling all the right strings, but you end up resenting it because it's not the real deal. What's frustrating here most of all is a movie that wants to be deep, and which made such attempts to be deep, only forces you to react against it.
If you do stick it out, you'll find a growing interlayering of lives, including a couple from the past (one of them a William Hurt with a horrendous southern accent) seen only by a mystic. And by the viewer. It's just not clever or interesting enough. Yes, the guys are buff, the women are charming, and life for regular very rich people who act very badly is the raw material for this really striving but impossibly flawed movie.
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