December 05, 1988 12:00 PM

Nothing much happens in this movie set in a ramshackle Texas bar called the Blue Water Grill. Proprietor Gene Hackman lolls in bed watching home movies of his wife, presumably drowned in a boating accident the year before, though her body hasn’t been found. He leaves his crippled father-in-law (Burgess Meredith) in the care of a retarded handyman (Elias Koteas) and ignores the entreaties of a school bus driver, perkily played by Teri Garr, who wants him to start life again with her. There’s something about the building of a new bridge that will make Hackman’s land valuable. But screenwriter Bill Bozzone and director Peter (The Trip to Bountiful) Masterson don’t work up much of a sweat about it. You wouldn’t either if it weren’t for Hackman and Garr—two classy actors who manage to light sparks in a film that otherwise seems content to burn on a perilously low flame. (R)

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