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Albert and Lucy fall in love, get married, and have a daughter Casey. Everything is wonderful, until their work distracts Albert and Lucy from each other and Casey. They soon divorce and start fighting. Casey, who spends much time with their Latino maid and childminder, eventually decides to seek legal emancipation from her parents, and to go and live full time with the maid who has been taking care of her. The media pick up the case and have a field day with it, making things worse.Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
The cowriters of this movie, Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer, were like the main characters in Irreconcilable Differences, a married couple who collaborated on movies until they divorced in 1999. See more »
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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