Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera..
No sooner does Italian-American widow Loretta accept a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny, then she finds herself falling for his younger brother, Ronny. She tries to resist, but Ronny lost his hand in an accident he blames on his brother, and has no scruples about aggressively pursuing her while Johnny is out of the country. As Loretta falls deeper in love, she comes to learn that she's not the only one in her family with a secret romance.Written by
I didn't get this film until I married a New Yorker...
...because as a native and life long resident of Dallas watching this in 1988 the ways of Italian Americans living in New York were completely unfamiliar to me. Now I watch it and go - oh yeah, I get it!
Cher is playing Loretta, a 37 year old widow of 7 years who married late for her culture - age 28 - holding out for love only to have her husband get run over by a bus. So when a long time date/friend Johnny Cammareri asks her to marry him, she accepts. As she tells her mother (Olympia Dukakis), she doesn't love him, but she does like him. Then Johnny has to leave town and tells Loretta that he wants her to help him make things right between himself and his brother (Nicholas Cage) who have not spoken for years. And then when these two meet lightning strikes - in a good way - except it's a bad way since Loretta is engaged to Johnny.
Loretta's family has problems too. Her mom knows her dad is having an affair although he has no intention of leaving her. A misunderstanding causes Loretta's extended family to think that she embezzled some money, and a professor in a restaurant who is always getting slapped and left by young girls throws some romantic attention the way of Dukakis' character.
This sounds like it could be serious, but it is just a sweet romantic comedy and at the same time a family comedy very much steeped in the culture of Italian Americans who never left New York after migrating here and thus retain much of the history of their original homeland in their daily life. There is a hilarious confession, great one liners, a hand lost in some machinery years ago, the opera, and ultimately a woman who decides she is too young at age 37 to go around with the hair of a 50 year old. I think it has aged well.
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