My general approach with the “From the Archive” offerings has been to preserve the original language and style as much as possible, resisting the mighty temptation to edit my, in this case, twenty-year-old self into stronger writing. While I’m still refraining from bringing an especially strong hand to it, my modified philosophy includes room for a little more clean-up and bringing the pieces more in line with the site style, such as it is, ’round these here digital parts. I offer this housekeeping information here and now because I think my inclusion of the truly groan-worthy “Spock” joke in the following review proves definitively that an alterations to the text are minor and not done with saving face in mind. If I left that gag in, I’m clearly opting out of rescuing me from the creative infractions of my former self. The gentlemen referred to in the opening line of the review was my on-air partner for three years, trading film reviews across the board. His current digital assertions can be found by clicking on this hyperlink.
Over the past few weeks, Steve and I have jokingly referred to Funny About Love as “Hey, There’s a Baby On My Head,” in reference to its movie poster, which features a happy infant perched atop Gene Wilder’s noggin. However, a more appropriate nickname for this film might be “Hey, There’s a Baby On My Mind,” because for most of the movie that’s exactly the affliction Gene Wilder is dealing with.
Wilder plays Duffy Bergman, a political cartoonist who finds himself in a romance with Meg Lloyd, played by Christine Lahti, after being disgusted by her cappuccino making. The two soon get married and make several attempts at becoming parents. This of course leads to several tasteless and embarrassing scenes as the couple turns to the world of medical science after the more standard way of making babies proves unsuccessful. The film listlessly drags us through their relationship and the changes it endures because of the lack of a baby.
The film is directed by former Vulcan Leonard Nimoy, who previously tackled child-related subjects in Three Men and a Baby and The Good Mother. Apparently, Mr. Spock has a bit of Dr. Spock in him as well. His very bland directing job is the last thing this shockingly unfunny script needed. Both Wilder and Lahti have their moments here, but for the most part they seem to be literally struggling to get through every scene. At times, it’s almost painful to watch Gene Wilder, an actor who had such a knack for terrific comic performances in Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, as he’s trapped in scenes where, for example, humor is derived from a threat to demonstrated the baby-making process on his parents’ dinner table. And the part by Mary Stuart Masterson is so one-dimensionally degrading that its barely worth mentioning.
The film also deserves a special demerit for bending over backwards to give the audience one of those patented Hollywood happy endings. If the producers really wanted to give this film an accurate title, it would be called “A Big Waste of Time About Love.”
1 star, out of 4.