27 July 2004 | d_nuttle
Talky, contrived, dull
I haven't seen a movie this talky since "My Dinner with Andre." There the similarity between the two movies ends, though, because the dialogue in this movie is stilted, banal, predictable, and most of all, deadly dull. I don't think that either McDowell or Quaid were up to these roles; though I don't think the best actors imaginable could have breathed a lot of life into them. But these two come off almost as automatons, shifting emotional gears right on cue, just the way you expect them to. Like it's...it's...you know what it reminded me of? Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson in one of their "serious" moments in "Home Improvement." "OK, first 13 seconds of anger, then 22 seconds of self-defense, then a quick joke, 18 seconds of resolution, another joke, a hug, a kiss, and...CUT! And that's a wrap." I can only be glad that Quaid and McDowell don't talk to an avuncular next-door neighbor over a fence.
Clearly we're supposed to see the friends who are split up as the outwardly "perfect" people, charming, good-looking, bragging about the great sex with their new partners, rich, insisting that they're happy, but clearly we're supposed to identify with McDowell and Quaid, the introspective, homey couple who wonder if the fires have gone cold, but see, it's the very wondering that proves the fires *haven't* gone cold. I think.
And after all of the wrangling and the wrenching revelations and the anguished talk and the furrowed brows and the bitten lower lips, the whole thing is resolved by Quaid climbing on top of McDowell and the lights go out. All they needed was a little old-fashioned, introspective, homey sex. Not the wild, exotic, enjoyable kind, just the dull routine kind. In the picture-perfect bed in the picture-perfect bedroom of their picture-perfect cottage in picture-perfect Martha's Vineyard, with their picture-perfect sons asleep and all's well with the world. What seemed like acute marital appendicitis proved to be just a bit of gas.