7 May 2001 | Vince-5
In this case, once IS enough
Jacqueline Susann's glamorous, emotional, highly personal novels always lost something in their translation to the screen. Once Is Not Enough is another prime example. But it doesn't have the unintended hilarity of Valley of the Dolls, nor the compelling sleaziness of The Love Machine. The most outrageous and memorable elements of the book are excised completely, and the result is two hours of sudsy romantic nothingness. Without the pills, vitamin shots, wild sex (including an acid-fueled orgy), and disturbing violence that infused the compelling novel, the story is as flat as week-old ginger ale.
It's a slick production with an all-star cast, including the engaging Deborah Raffin as January, but the material is awful. The filmmakers' were obviously trying for a "respectable" approach, and the results are just plain boring. Case in point: Jackie provided the book with a surreal, escapist conclusion that's wholly amazing, whereas the movie just...ends. The book was about a naive girl trying to deal with life, and the movie is about--say it with me now!--LOOOOOOOVE! And it's like every other mediocre movie on the subject.
However, things are brightened by Brenda Vaccaro in her Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated turn as uninhibited magazine editor Linda Riggs. She's the perfect realization of Susann's character (albeit with toned-down material) and provides a lot more spirit than this tepid production deserves. Her performance alone merits a viewing, but everything else is a daytime-TV-style mess. About as shocking as a trip to the supermarket--perhaps even less so.