(director/writer: Joan Micklin Silver; screenwriter: novel by Ann Beattie; cinematographer: Bobby Byrne ; editor: Cynthia Scheider ; music: Ken Lauber; cast: John Heard (Charles), Mary Beth Hurt (Laura), Peter Riegert (Sam), Gloria Grahame (Clara), Tarah Nutter (Susan), Griffin Dunne (Dr. Mark), Ann Beattie (Waitress), Allen Joseph (Blind Vendor), Nora Heflin (Betty), Jerry Hardin (Mr. Patterson), Kenneth McMillan (Pete), Angela Phillips (Rebecca), Frances Bay (Mrs. Delillo), Mark Metcalf (Jim Connolly); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Amy Robinson/Griffen Dunne/Mark Metcalf MGM Home Entertainment; 1979)

“Occasionally funny when not irritating.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This quirky uneven rom-com, set in Salt Lake City, is based on the novel by Ann Beattie, that is occasionally funny when not irritating. It’s slyly directed and written by Joan Micklin Silver (“Crossing Delancey”/”Loverboy”) to show the vagaries of falling in love, but tends to resemble TV sitcom fare more than a movie.

The self-absorbed single 30-year-old Charles (John Heard) is a government office worker who falls madly in love at first sight with fellow office worker Laura (Mary Beth Hurt), who is separated from her A-frame real estate salesman husband Jim (Mark Metcalf). The petulant Charles begins a brief relationship with her, until she returns to her husband and step-daughter (Angela Phillips). A year later Charles still obsesses over her and tries to win her back by doing anything he can to get her attention–including stalking her. A flashback covers their entire relationship, and how she again leaves hubby only to get involved with a cabbie. That signals to Charles that he will never be with the love of his life again, who viewed their affair as merely a fling.

The unhappy Charles lives with idler roommate Sam (Peter Riegert). He’s also saddled with a mentally sick suicidal mother (Gloria Grahame).

The pic remains vacuous because it’s not affecting, lacks warmth and the dialogue is stilted.

REVIEWED ON 4/19/2017       GRADE: C+