March 04, 1991 12:00 PM

Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Perkins

Just our luck. Here’s a comedy that has two directors, Ken Kwapis and Marisa Silver—the better to show a romantic saga from both participants’ points of view—and they turn out to be the only compatible man and woman on earth.

When they repeat identical scenes from different vantage points, things look just the same through Perkins’s eyes as they do through Bacon’s: pretty unoriginal. He’s a womanizer, she’s marriage-minded, and always the twain shall meet. The only real difference between them is that Perkins gets away with throwing a coffee mug at Bacon’s head, a bit of ostensible comedy that would not be regarded as at all funny if it were a man throwing a hard object at a woman.

Bacon and Perkins, as Baltimore reporters whose dueling op-ed columns lead inevitably to love, trundle along looking earnestly likable (he) and beguilingly wide-eyed (she). Periodically, Bacon fends off the advances of Sharon (Total Recall) Stone, one of those only-in-the-movies women who is obviously going to get rejected because she is gorgeous and devoted. There’s one painfully contorted restaurant scene in which Perkins fantasizes about the Bacon-Stone relationship.

By the second half of the movie, a certain desperation sets in, so that the Rashomon-like scene changes (sorry, Mr. Kurosawa) seem less like artful variations on a theme than they do the directors’ stubborn attempts to keep doing it until they get it right.

Debuting writer Brian Hohlfeld—and how come there’s only one writer?—is either satirizing or relying on megaclichéd, sappy dialogue: “You men are all alike. You don’t take any of us seriously.”

Or how about this snappy exchange: “Sex with me is very good.” “Yeah, I’m sure.”

It’s all almost enough to make you wish for the days of such comedies as About Last Night…(which featured Perkins in a similar role) and When Harry Met Sally…Almost.

Anyway, let’s cut to the sequel, The Reviewer Said:

“Redundant and repetitive!”

“Two minutes of entertainment, 113 minutes of ennui!”

“Bacon and Perkins are the new Tracy and Hepburn—they wish!”

“One big toe down!”

“I love it and kiss it and gush over it and will keep gushing until they use this blurb in the ads.” … Oops, wrong reviewer. (PG-13)

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