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The uneventful life of the businessman Charles Driggs suddenly changes when he meets the wild and sexy Lulu. When he accepts her offer to drive him back to his office, she instead takes him out of town and on a trip, leaving behind his old life. Posing as a married couple, Charles and "Audrey" (which turns out to be Lulu's real name) visit her mother and her high school reunion. At this reunion they meet Audrey's violent ex-husband Ray, who has just released from prison. When Ray makes it clear that he wants Audrey back, that is when the real trouble begins.Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
An entertaining mix of comedy and drama from Jonathan Demme.
Jeff Daniels plays Charles Driggs, a straight arrow yuppie who decides one day to skip out on his cheque for lunch. A stranger, "Lulu" (Melanie Griffith), notices this, and correctly surmises that he's a "closet rebel" kind of guy. He's the perfect guy whom she can fit into her plans, so she sort of "abducts" him and makes him pose as her husband. However, the guy whom she is actually still married to, an ex-convict named Ray Sinclair (Ray Liotta, in his breakthrough film performance) shows up, and things take an uglier turn.
As written by E. Max Frye and directed by the talented veteran Jonathan Demme, "Something Wild" is engaging for quite a while. It manages to be pretty zany in spirit, and somewhat unpredictable. Daniels, who's often made a career out of playing straight arrow types, and the kooky, delightful Griffith, who sports a brunette wig at first, work decidedly well together. One is amused by their misadventures and wondering what sort of mess that Lulu will next create for Charles. However, the film is somewhat overlong, and changes tone for its second half for a much more conventional narrative of Ray dominating the proceedings and occasionally terrorizing Charles. (Not to mention Charles taking quite a shine to Lulu and refusing to let her go without some sort of fight.)
Fortunately, Daniels and Griffith are so utterly engaging that they make this trip worthwhile. Liotta is a powerhouse in the role of the volatile husband; I'm sure that back then, theatre goers and critics alike could see that this guy was going places. Lovely Margaret Colin is good in an underwritten role, and is unceremoniously dropped from the story. One other complaint that this viewer had was that this cast features some top notch character players - Tracey Walter, Charles Napier, Robert Ridgely - and director cameos (John Sayles as a motorcycle cop, John Waters as a used car salesman), and then makes such brief use of them. One might wish that they had more to do.
The eclectic soundtrack is solid accompaniment for this generally agreeable movie. It may not move that well, but it does come up with some very nice moments along the way.
Seven out of 10.
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