Picks and Pans Review: Best Friends

updated 01/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

So testy is the tone of this semiromantic semi-comedy, and so petulant and unlikable are the characters they play, that Goldie Hawn and Burt Reynolds need all the charm and goodwill they can muster just to keep it from becoming a disaster. They are two Hollywood screenwriters who, having lived together for three years, decide to get married. The mere idea of taking this step and meeting their in-laws sends both of them into such paroxysms of anxiety they become instant boors, snarly and insufferable. He fumes when they go to Buffalo to meet her folks because it's cold; she fumes in Virginia because his mother expects her to serve coffee. It may not sound that serious, but Hawn and Reynolds begin to act as if they'd just discovered that they've married someone who has the black plague, mass-murderer tendencies and a wig (no offense, Burt). Director Norman (In the Heat of the Night) Jewison and writers Barry Levinson and Valerie Curtin (they collaborated on Jewison's And Justice for All) have in mind something about "the perils of modern marriage," according to the film's publicity. What sort of marital wreckage have they been prowling around in lately? This film only trivializes real problems, gaining few laughs in the process. While there are spotty triumphs by the supporting cast—notably Jessica Tandy and Audra Lindley as the mothers—the film seems contrived and mean-spirited. Its elements represent a match made not in heaven but in the doghouse. (PG)

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