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William T. Bolson
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Barry Alexander Brown
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In many respects, this is the "Shallow Hal" film for the more mature and cultivated. The main character is a shmutzy looser whose ex-promqueen wife has dumped him unceremoniously for his self-absorbed best friend, and he is obsessed with winning her back. Then his sister, in a misguided attempt to cheer him up, sets him up with the date from hell. This character is exquisitely portrayed by Ally Sheedy, who explodes into his life like an atom bomb. She is repulsive, assertive, controlling and demanding, to give her the benefit of the doubt, and clings to him like a cheap suit of clothes. But this is not a melodrama, and the characters develop and evolve from the absurd to the sublime.
Unlike the more garish "Shallow Hal," which does ask us to consider the less superficial aspects of the meaning and purpose of a relationship, but with stereotypes painted "rather broadly" so to speak, this one approaches the subject with a sharply pointed pencil and a fine-toothed comb. In both films the guy is a dufus who learns to become a mensch. But the girl in this one has a rather paradoxical kind of beauty to her personality that was always there. She becomes likeable precisely because we know that she is different, and not in spite of that fact. Otherwise, it is a splendid fantasy and romance, not to be taken too seriously. We can believe that something like this could happen long enough to enjoy the wonderful story.
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