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MOVIE REVIEW : 'Married to It' Should Have Just Split From Its Script

March 26, 1993|PETER RAINER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Critics who complain that Hollywood doesn't make more real-life movies about adults might want to revise their opinion after slogging through "Married to It" (citywide).

It seems to have been made with the idea that the more grown-up relationships you put on the screen the better the movie. It's crammed with adult conflicts all right, but none of them ring true. Watching the film (rated R for language and sensuality) is a bit like sitting through a group therapy session with all the participants babbling at once. You go into sensitivity-training overload.

We're talking about a motley crew of complainers. There's Leo and Claire (Ron Silver and Cybill Shepherd)--he's a semi-successful, divorced toy manufacturer; she's a highly successful investment banker. (Guess what their conflict is?) John (Beau Bridges) and Iris (Stockard Channing) are superannuated hippies with two young boys. Nina and Chuck (Mary Stuart Masterson and Robert Sean Leonard) are childhood sweethearts from Iowa who have come to big, bad New York City, where Chuck is a Wall Street whiz and Nina works as a school psychologist in the private school attended by Leo's annoyingly distraught daughter Lucy (Donna Vivino) and John and Iris' kids.

How do these disparate types end up together? They all meet to plan a children's pageant put on by the school celebrating the '60s, that's how!

The notion that the '60s represent something akin to the Paleolithic Age to the current crop of moppets is certainly a chilling one (at least for those of us who remember the '60s, although, as someone once said, if you remember the '60s you didn't live through them).

It also might be a humorous notion but director Arthur Hiller and screenwriter Janet Kovalcik don't really see it that way. What these couples are going through in their lives is viewed as a return to the touchy-feely goodness of those years. Men and women reclaim their sensitivities by recognizing their need to open up to each other--metaphorically speaking, of course.

The cast tries to rise above the kind of dialogue that sinks performances. Emerging battered but unbowed are Silver, who at least gets some steam-heat into his yammering, and Bridges, who does a convincing turn as a bathetic boomer. The booby prize goes to Shepherd, whose line readings are even clunkier than her lines--a staggering achievement. But good, bad or indifferent, the cast members' are unified by Victor Kemper's cinematography: Their skin tones look as pasty as an anti-fungal ointment.

'Married to It'

Beau Bridges: John Morden

Stockard Channing: Iris Morden

Ron Silver: Leo Rothenberg

Cybill Shepherd: Claire Rothenberg

Mary Stuart Masterson: Nina Bishop

An Orion Pictures Corp. release. Director Arthur Hiller. Producer Thomas Baer. Screenplay by Janet Kovalcik. Cinematographer Victor Kemper. Editor Robert C. Jones. Costumes Julie Weiss. Music Henry Mancini. Production design Robert Gundlach. Art director Jeffrey Ginn. Set decorator Gordon Sim. Running time: 1 hour, 54 minutes.

MPAA-rated R (language and a scene of sensuality).

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