Top critical review
Really tried to like it, but the film is too silly to enjoy
on December 17, 2001
Michelle Pfeiffer is far too old for her role and since she is not the most talented actress (although she was great in What Lies Beneath, where her limited abilities were well suited), she is very awkward in the part. Silly and ditzy at first, she willingly falls under the influence of Robert Redford's character, a controlling sexist who bitterly dreams of better days when journalism was about telling the facts rather than making up stories or ridiculing citizens. I liked Redford's character to some degree, only the sexist and belligerant portions were hard to stomach. He needed a strong woman to tell him off, at least, or to set him right. Pfeiffer's character doesn't provide this. She becomes Redford's protege, and we have a Pygmalion plot which is sure to appeal to women who want to be sheltered and guided by a father-figure who later takes them to bed. Kind of gross idea. There are a lot of childish antics from Pfeiffer's character, Tally, in her pursuit of friendship and later sex with Redford's Warren Justice (his character's name sounds like he should be on the Supreme Court, doesn't it?). Finally, Pfeiffer gets what she wants, and the romantic love scene pretty much consists of Redford ungraciously throwing her against a wall (ouch!) and finally, being nice and kissing the small of her back. Hmm. Is this the high romance we expect from Redford? Well, no, but it suits his character, who is not a particularly likeable guy. Following this, there are a lot of silly professional antics. Warren Justice suffers from an attitude problem, expecting to be revered rather than treated like an ordinary, unemployed guy. Tally has a big scene at some prison riot which sends a message to the audience that prisons should be reformed (ho, hum, not another Redford liberal political message, embedded in a movie that's suppose to be entertaining, even though this one is not). Warren Justice, or rather Redford, manages to get himself rescued from this film in a terminal way, removing any possibility for a sequel even though the original film is so bad that sequels are far from anyone's mind. The film ends awkwardly, with Tally or Michelle on stage talking about how wonderful Redford is and a huge photograph of Redford, with his classic smile, looming behind her. It looks like war of the movie star egos, and not a decent film about love, journalism, ethics, or adventure. There are a lot of awkward, nonsensical one-liners in this film too. They are thrown out as little romantic bits -- Redford wants to be with Pfeiffer so much that it hurts. One day together is more than they deserve. That sort of thing. Poor acting, poor directing, poor script -- very poor story idea. Granted there are women who are like Pfeiffer's character, helpless and dependent and silly and barely educated. They do turn to men to help them, rather than get some of the generously available financial aid and go to college, during the day or at night, to work hard and make something out of themselves. And there are plenty of men like Redford's character who like women that they can view as being less than they are, as being inferior. I don't think we needed a film about this, nor did Redford need to belittle his reputation this way. Honestly, if you can sit through this film twice, or even once (I kept getting up to clean the apartment, which is a sign of how bad a film is if I cannot sit still and would rather -- horrors -- vacuum and dust), you have more stamina than me. I disliked this film, but I hope you manage to find something to like in it. Films should be entertaining. Maybe this one has some merit buried in it?