Irreconcilable Differences

Charles Shyer's film ricochets between cutesy-poo romance and bitchy Hollywood gossip mongering. The story of a failed marriage is told in doom-laden flashback (a la Two for the Road), as rumpled film professor Ryan O'Neal metamorphoses into a vain, womanizing filmmaker and mousy Shelley Long becomes a best-selling feminist novelist. The film is larded with references to the Hollywood tradition of romantic comedy—to Lubitsch, to Wilder, to McCarey—but Shyer's own chief stylistic model is prime-time television. Only the engaging lightness of the two lead performances prevents the film from falling into utter treacliness. With Drew Barrymore, Sam Wanamaker, Allen Garfield, Sharon Stone, and Rex Reed (1984).

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