Picks and Pans Review: Honeysuckle Rose
This is essentially a showcase for the considerable talents of country-Western star Willie Nelson. The 47-year-old "Outlaw" has an easy role—himself Willie's thinly disguised as a singer named Buck Bonham whose winning smile and sing-songy voice permeate the movie, and he also wrote four new songs for it. Although it is basically a concert film (noncountry fans, be warned), there is a lot going on backstage. Dyan Cannon is radiant as Nelson's understanding yet independent wife, and Amy (The Fury) Irving exudes a smoldering sensuality as the girl who leads Willie astray. This is perhaps Cannon's most affecting performance, and both she and Irving display unexpected skill as singers. There are few surprises in the direction by Jerry (The Seduction of Joe Tynan) Schatz-berg, but his camera adroitly captures everything from a Texas-size family reunion to the near hysteria of a live concert. (The title has nothing to do with Fats Waller's great song, by the way; it's the name of Buck's ranch.) Though the movie is about 20 minutes too long, it seems almost un-American to complain about that kind of excess when it's filled with good ole boys playing good ole music. (PG)
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