“You can’t just pick these things up again like a book you never finished.”
A troubled psychologist (Talia Shire) hoping to understand herself better takes a road trip to reconnect with three of her former beaus — including a college boyfriend (Richard Jordan), a high school flame (John Belushi), and a childhood sweetheart.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Character Studies
- Paul Schrader Films
- Road Trip
The premise of this succinctly titled character study is compelling: who hasn’t fantasized at some point about revisiting one’s former lovers, and reassessing, in hindsight, what went wrong? Unfortunately, director Joan Tewkesbury — best known for writing Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975) and Thieves Like Us (1974) — fails to turn this intriguing narrative framework into a convincing drama. At the heart of the problem lies Shire’s performance, which is uneven and unfocused; sadly, we never grow to care about her character. Part of the issue also lies in Paul and Leonard Schrader’s screenplay: after an initial voice-over giving a cursory explanation of what Shire’s setting out to do and why, we’re plunged into her road trip without an opportunity to feel any investment in her or her dilemma. The surprisingly lame dialogue doesn’t help matters any either (Shire says to her womanizing ex-boyfriend Belushi — who now runs a formal wear company — “I always knew you’d get into women’s clothes – but this is ridiculous!” Ha.) Meanwhile, David Shire’s sumptuous but overused film score seems to belong to another movie entirely. Richard Jordan (playing Shire’s sympathetic almost-fiance from her college days) provides the film’s sole redeeming element, though his role is regrettably small, and his character’s actions don’t really ring all that true.
Note: Fans of John Belushi will certainly be interested to see his brief appearance here as a mega-louse; he acquits himself reasonably well.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Richard Jordan as Diane’s college flame
No; feel free to skip this one.