9/2/16

FUNNY ABOUT LOVE - REVIEW


Directed by Leonard Nimoy, Funny About Love was a romantic drama/comedy from 1990 starring Gene Wilder and Christine Lahti as a couple who struggle to have a baby and slowly drift away from each other as a result.

Like Woody Allen's Husbands & Wives or Kramer vs Kramer, Funny About Love aims to tell a very real story about real people who have real marital problems as we see a genuinely sweet relationship come together then reach a dead-end and finally split apart. It's not too surprising that critics weren't too keen on this one (Roger Ebert hated it) upon its release since the first act of the film tells a harmless enough, pretty adorable love story then purposely takes a detour to uncomfortable places, something which probably lost a portion of the audience who was enjoying the light-hearted aspects of the film and expected another Mr Mom. Indeed, the main couple's attempts at conceiving a child and their eventual split are awkward to witness but if you're going into the film without any expectations then this shouldn't prove too distracting or disappointing.

While Gene Wilder gets a couple of funny lines and moments here, you get the feeling that he was perhaps miscast in the role of the often dislikable cartoonist Duffy Bergman since you expect Wilder to be a sweet, if slightly eccentric, guy but not a jerk and that can be jarring. Funny About Love has its heart in the right place and it means well by trying to show a side of relationships you don't often see in movies but the script is far too uneven to make it all work. After a solid start, the film follows Duffy and basically forgets about Meg (Lahti) and the third act feels a little rushed. Unlike Husbands & Wives, the dialogs don't always sound genuine and Wilder's relationship with Mary Stuart Masterson's character, who is much younger, isn't convincing. Having said that, Wilder and Lahti have great chemistry and the film itself is well made.

While the negative reviews made some valid points and Funny About Love is not always a cozy watch, it remains a decent rom-com with more melodrama than jokes, granted, but it's a genuine attempt at telling a heartfelt story about a broken relationship and if you don't really wish for that couple to get back together by the end, then I'd be very surprised.

Flawed but not bad.

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