Love at Large | Chicago Reader

Love at Large

Alan Rudolph at his second best is still better than most other American filmmakers around, and this dreamy, romantic comedy-thriller (1990) is still in many ways his most graceful picture since Choose Me. Tom Berenger plays a private eye hired by a mysterious and glamorous woman (Anne Archer) to follow a man; he sets off after the wrong one (Ted Levine), who has a fascinating secret life of his own. Meanwhile the detective is being followed by another woman (Elizabeth Perkins). As usual with Rudolph, the gentle kidding of movie cliches doesn't preclude a capacity to enjoy them. Mark Isham once again handles the music (a blend of jazz and pop that partially gravitates around “You Don't Know What Love Is”), Elliot Davis executes the sliding camera movements, and kissing couples keep popping up as a kind of leitmotiv. Berenger, who intermittently recalls the punkish charm of John Garfield, has never been used to better effect, and the secondary cast—which includes Kate Capshaw, Annette O'Toole, Ann Magnuson, Kevin J. O'Connor, and Ruby Dee—is uniformly fine. The plot has a tendency to wind down rather than keep building, but Rudolph still manages to keep it pleasurable every step of the way.

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