17 January 2019 | drednm
Chicken Broke Toe and I Don't Care
Jill Clayburgh plays yet another one of those wannabe liberated women in this feminist fantasy/comedy. She's a math professor at the University of Chicago and living with a guy (Charles Grodin) but she feels she wants more ... maybe. On a trip to New York for her widowed father's wedding, she meets a brash man (Michael Douglas) and something happens.
The trouble with this film is that the feminist view is scuttled in favor of formula storytelling. Clayburgh hit the mark in AN UNMARRIED WOMAN because the character fulfilled her promise. In this film, she falls for the same of song and dance and basically gives up any sort of fulfillment for the usual relationship with a man.
The ultimate fulfillment is still to be found in a man. The real irony here is that this film was written by a woman and directed by a woman and they still come up with "a man is the answer," whereas AN UNMARRIED WOMAN was written and directed by a man.
Feminist politics aside, Clayburgh, Douglas, and Grodin are easy to watch even though there are a few wayward scenes that go nowhere or seem to have come out of nowhere. Steven Hill plays the marrying father, and although he's in bad health and popping heart pills, nothing comes of that arc. Beverly Garland is quite good as the new bride. There's also Dianne Wiest, Charles Kimbrough,, and Daniel Stern as a brilliant student.
Clayburgh's teaching career and new job in New York tack a back seat as soon as Douglas enters the story. Director Claudia Weill, who showed such a sure hand in GIRLFRIENDS just goes by the numbers here. There's never a moment's doubt what the conclusion will be, despite the film's title.