Up Close and Personal

Bomb Rating: 

The hell of being Mr. Cranky involves sitting through this kind of crap. It also involves sitting through the trailer for this kind of crap while waiting for other movies to start, which, in the case of "Up Close and Personal," I must have done at least ten times. My question after seeing the trailer the first time was, "What genius at Touchstone (a.k.a. Disney) decided to create the Cliffs Notes version of the movie?" My question after the tenth time was, "How can a kind and loving God allow such a movie to be made?"

The premise of the film is the same as the premise of the trailer: A ridiculous excuse to get Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford boinkin' like rabbits. Robert is the older, wiser news man who teaches neophyte Michelle the ropes of the network news. Of course, when she becomes a success she moves up the corporate ladder to the local affiliate in Philadelphia where, like a typical Hollywood woman, she can't function properly because she's separated from her man.

The combination of writers Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne and director Jon Avnet makes for a movie that would be better titled: "Clichés on Parade." There's the first meeting between Pfeiffer and Redford where the clumsy Michelle has to drop her purse on the floor to establish her inherent inferiority as a member of the weaker sex. There's the love scene between the two, featuring only tightly gripped hands to establish passion and intensity because Bob and Michelle are much too high on the Hollywood food chain to ever have to show any skin. There's the slow-motion shot of the dropped glass to establish a shocking moment. And finally, there's the shot of the weeping friend when Michelle gives a heartfelt speech. For those of you without the cliché handbook handy, "weeping friend" equals "sadness."

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