Murphy's Romance

Martin Ritt, working as usual from a script by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch (Hud, Hombre, Conrack, Norma Rae), has tried to fashion an old-fashioned, folksy comedy about an independent young divorcee (Sally Field) and the cantankerous proprietor of a small-town drugstore (James Garner), but the picture just lumbers along, lightly propelled by a series of contrived conflicts (her ex-husband turns up) and anecdotal observations that don't add up to much. Garner is entering codgerdom a bit prematurely (in long shots, he could still pass for 40), and it's disturbing to see this supremely relaxed performer slipping into the lovable shtick that gummed up so many of Spencer Tracy's late appearances. Field, for her part, has no place to go with her buzzy intensity; she comes off as tense, grasping, and weirdly disconnected from the other players. With Brian Kerwin and Corey Haim (1985).

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