HUSBANDS (director/writer: John Cassavetes; cinematographer: Victor J. Kemper; editors: Tom Cornwell/Peter Tanner/Jack Woods; music: Ray Brown; cast: Peter Falk (Archie), Ben Gazzara (Harry), John Cassavetes (Gus), Jenny Runacre (Mary Tynan), Stuart Jackson (David Rowlands), Noelle Kao (Julie), Jenny Wright (Pearl Billingham); Runtime: 154; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Sam Shaw/Al Ruban; Columbia Pictures; 2005)
“An overlong improv piece that when it’s not tedious or startling settles on showing the emptiness of suburban life for three married New York commuters.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director John Cassavetes (“Gloria”) at his most obnoxious and most memorable, in an overlong improv piece that when it’s not tedious or startling settles on showing the emptiness of suburban life for three married New York commuters. The three close friends from Port Washington, Long Island, are Archie (Peter Falk), Harry (Ben Gazzara) and Gus (John Cassavetes). They have just returned from a funeral of their heart attack victim close friend David Rowlands (Stuart Jackson) and are shaken up by their loss of a man who died too soon. The men get drunk and settle on a four-day odyssey of self-discovery to relieve their despair by flying to London. They go on a drinking binge, gamble, horseplay like children and pick up women. They eventually return home to their wives and children, returning to their same dull routines after this so-called liberating experience that leaves them not one bit the wiser.
Jenny Runacre plays a neurotic that Cassavetes picks up in London, and the tall blonde brings some needed warmth to the bleak film.
The highly personal cinéma vérité movie is almost unwatchable at times, but for all Cassavetes’ self-indulgences, male braggadocio and rambling monologues there’s a raw power that makes the experimental pic unforgettable, funny and somewhat touching. It has something to say about the human condition, something that would have been served better if it had been more sharply edited. The film is not nearly as good as Cassavetes’ earlier Faces or his later The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.
REVIEWED ON 11/27/2005 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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