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movie and film reviews

A M B U S H   M a g   2 0 0 0 - V O L U M E   1 5 - I S S U E   8  

Real to Real
by Chuc LaVenture

That Old Feeling

Old" here would be the operative word. That Old Feeling recreates the feeling of the romantic comedies of old. Lilly (Bette Midler) would have been a wonderful role for Katharine Hepburn or Carole Lombard. Bette portrays her as a rather over-the-top, histrionic, hedonistic narcissist.

I am much reminded of Kate and Spencer in Adam's Rib. There is a great deal of fire and passion in the performance. The costumes are grand, all of the characters beautifully attired. The locations are romantic. Should you see the movie, check out the floral arrangements at both of the weddings. All this movie missed in remaking the romantic comedy was a more extensive score (i.e. another song or two by Bette).

Lilly (Bette) and Dan (Dennis Farina) have been happily divorced for more than a decade. Their daughter's wedding is the impetus for their reunion, much to the dismay of their daughter Molly (Paula Marshall), her husband Keith (Jamie Denton), and Keith's very conservative family. Lilly and Dan, in true bohemian fashion, express their feelings of loathing for one another rather loudly at the reception and are summarily exiled to the parking lot by their mortified daughter.

The fight continues until passion ensues. After a torrid tryst in Dan's sports car the two return to the party, a bit dazed and confused, but capable of civility. And the romance and comedy begin. Dan and Lilly aren't ready to stop scratching this particular itch. They take off, leaving Dan's second wife, the opportunistic Rowena (Gail O'Grady), and Lilly's verbose second husband Alan (David Rasche), at the Inn rented for them by the groom's parents. Molly's politically inclined husband insists they find the couple and return the abandoned second spouses to their respective homes before the media gets wind of the affair, ruining his chance to run on a "Family Values" platform.

This is made all the more difficult by the presence of Joey (Danny Nucci), the tabloid photographer who follows Lilly around. Molly realizes that if Joey makes his living by knowing where her mother is at all times then he is the person she needs to find her parents and hires him to do so. The search is on, and so is the comedy and the romance. I won't spoil the movie by giving you the ending, but know that it is funny and terribly romantic.

This is good old-fashioned movie-going. That Old Feeling is light comedy, made all the more enjoyable by the beautiful "scenery:" Danny Nucci, Jamie Denton, and Dennis Farina, in that order, although New York isn't bad either.

Danny Nucci is just a joy to the eye. Swarthy, dark, with bedroom eyes that simply make one want to take him to bed. God love Latin men. Jamie Denton as Keith is perfect. I could really believe that he just stepped out of Harvard yard (though in the movie I believe he and Molly are Yale grads). He exudes rank and privilege and the abuse thereof. Dennis Farina is the quintessential daddy. He's rugged. He's big. He's masculine. And he's in Armani.

There is also Bette's wardrobe to be considered for our viewing pleasure. There is this incredible black knit pants number with a white crocheted, midriff length, over-piece that looked terribly elegant on Bette. I also loved all the satins in high colors, and the gloves in contrasting hues. Only Bette could carry off something so visually BIG.

The location scenes are wonderfully shot, terribly romantic, from the Connecticut Inn of the first wedding to the hotel, identified in the movie as the Majestic I believe, where Dan and Lilly run off for their tryst.

I have to say that I am not usually a fan of light comedy. I tend more toward the abstract, or the socially complex. I will also be the first in line for a good tearjerker. This movie, however, was very entertaining.

Throughout the movie I kept flashing back to Katharine Hepburn in Adam's Rib or Bringing Up Baby. If you are a late night movie buff, or would just love to see Bette in her best drag persona, then this is the movie for you.

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