Picks and Pans Review: Purple Hearts

updated 05/21/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/21/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

It's corny, predictable and often laughably improbable, but this love story set in Vietnam does have a lovely, affecting performance by Cheryl Ladd and the kind of stroll-off-into-the-sunset romance they don't put in films anymore. Ladd, doing her best to fight The Curse of Charlie's Angels, is understated and touching as a nurse who falls in love with Ken (Jinxed) Wahl, a doctor with a penchant for ending up in the middle of terrible battles. Wahl, a hunk, has the acting ability of someone carved from the trunk of an oak. There are helpful supporting performances, though, by Stephen (WarGames) Lee, as Wahl's best friend, Annie (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) McEnroe and Lee Ermey, a real-life Marine veteran of Vietnam, as the gunnery sergeant of a decimated battalion. Director Sidney Furie showed in The Boys in Company C that he has a feel for the intensity and energy of war, though he also co-wrote a screenplay that forces Ladd to utter such threadbare lines as "He's not dead. If he was, I'd know it." There's nothing political about this movie. It does serve as a reminder to movie fans, however, of how enjoyable it can be to cheer for two people in love. (R)

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