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Adopt a Sailor is about Patricia and Richard, a successful and hip couple from New York City who inadvertently "adopt a sailor" during Fleet Week in New York City, and the young man from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas who changes their lives forever. Written by
Fairly good performances by the three stars are sabotaged by a plodding and pretentious screenplay. Reviewers on other sites who see parallels with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? aren't entirely wrong, but they miss the fact that Edward Albee is a genius and Charles Evered is not. This is a dumbed-down, lightened-up, sped-up, Lifetime-movie version of Woolf, filled with clichés and dialog so trite that it makes even talented actors (which these three are) seem like hams.
Patricia (Neuwirth) comes closest to being a believable character; unlike the two men, she has more than one side: a sarcastic harridan who despises her ineffectual husband (like Martha in Woolf) and a sympathetic, even motherly woman who is aware of her own failings. Unfortunately, Neuwirth isn't well cast for either of those roles: she does sarcastic cold-hearted b!tch better than just about anybody, but when it comes to snarling and spitting like an enraged tigress (Liz Taylor's Martha), it's just acting with Neuwirth, and not very good acting.
Richard (Coyote) and Sailor (Peck) are so shallow and one-dimensional that it's surprising when they turn and you see they're not cardboard cutouts. Coyote's whining, thumb-sucking, new-age twit in this stupid movie is almost unbearable. Peck is a too-good-to-be-true angel unawares, a heavenly creature who drifts down off a cloud in his blinding-white sailor duds and his aw-shucks-y'all sincerity and sets Pat and Rich's world a-spinning. He's so perfect I kept wishing somebody would knock his teeth out, or that he'd turn out to have flaws like human beings have, but he never did.
Another reviewer said, "Adopt a Sailor seems sugary and contrived initially." I say it never becomes anything else, and by the end the sugar is SO thick there should be an automatic link to Woolf, or at least a clip - Liz with her hands on her hips braying her rage at the moon - to help viewers clear out the sour taste this shallow, saccharine, contrived, phony movie leaves.
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