October 03, 1988 12:00 PM

If you were making a movie about a foursquare, aging, small-town Vermont guy settled down with a wife and three kids, whom would you cast? Probably not Don Johnson, the hipper-than-thou hunk from TV’s Miami Vice. But Johnson is exactly whom you get in this deadheaded comedy-drama from the tear-jerking pen of Ernest (On Golden Pond) Thompson. Construction worker Johnson feels trapped in his 15-year marriage to Susan (Bull Durham) Sarandon. His wife doesn’t understand his problem. Neither does his pal, played by Jeff (Something Wild) Daniels, who is just finding love with teacher Elizabeth (Big) Perkins. It might have helped if Johnson made more of an effort to change his image. But he visits the movie as if he were smartass Sonny Crockett just dropping in on a whim. Only Daniels, in the film’s one affecting performance, stays in character. Director Robert (Xanadu) Greenwald’s attention to detail seems confined to hair, makeup and atmosphere. That leaves some hard-won reputations to sink in Thompson’s brackish pond. (PG-13)

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