• petershelleyau29 May 2002
    A comedienne falters, but it's not all her fault
    Teri Garr is miscast as Sally ‘Sluggy' Bierston, an army nurse in 1975 Saigon who becomes a POW on the last day of the war, escapes to the Philippines after 10 years in a camp, and is brought to Florida. Garr isn't a bad straight actress, it's just that she doesn't have the emotionalism needed to present a woman who has been traumatised and then reunites with her former surgeon and now general practitioner husband Jeff (Stacy Keach). At worst her suffering is simply dull, and we only get a glimpse of Garr's genius at comic hysteria when she bickers eg the line "I was contemplating slashing my wrists with a harvesting blade" is presumably not meant to be funny.

    Keach is more believable as a man who has to rediscover his long lost wife, but our focus is somewhat distracted by his apparent hairpiece. The person who comes off best in her brief role is Cathy Lee Crosby, as Jeff's girlfriend before Sally returns, in spite of Crosby's clenched eyes, though Priscilla Lopez has potential if no material as a doctor at a free clinic Sally works for.

    The teleplay by Norman McLeod Morrill has Sally having nightmares and delusional flashbacks, where she sleeps on the floor, hides in a cupboard, carries a knife, and is anti-social and asexual, all which lead her to a Veterans Hospital and the psychiatric care of Sol Kramer (Max Gail). That Sally being awarded a medal is postponed until her official release from "the psycho ward" provides the biggest laugh of the whole narrative. Her mistreatment also includes being raped while imprisoned, and the fact that she has kept the child, George (Max Barabas) and he has helped her escape, is as implausible as Sally having taught George to speak English and him being a virtual cypher. However McLeod Morrill's treatment is less interested in Sally's trauma than the inevitable rekindling of her romance with Jeff - we know this because Sally checks herself out and no one tries to find her.

    Director Robert Ellis Miller uses news footage of the fall of Saigon, subjective camera, odd repetition of photographic flashes at a news conference, and provides unintentional humour from a montage of Jeff actively listening to Sally talk.