Nothing in Common | Chicago Reader

Nothing in Common

Chicago adman David Basner (Tom Hanks) has it made: everyone laughs at his jokes, women line up to spend the night in his Printers Row condo, and he's about to land the biggest account of his life. Unfortunately David's meteoric ascent is crossed by his father's drastic decline as the old man loses wife, job, and toes to the outrages of old age. The memento mori of his ailing father conjures up for David such unwelcome issues as the inescapability of origins, the inevitability of biological destiny, and the dubious ethics of being an asshole—matters not readily resolved by the bromides and cynicism of the advertising trade. Director Garry Marshall, whose Mork and Mindy, Laverne and Shirley, and Happy Days dominated the tube in the 70s, is as adept as his protagonist David at defining and exploiting a market: with Nothing in Common he cornered the boomers and the elderly, guaranteeing success. But Nothing is darkened by perverse twists in its formula, sudden moments of bitterness and genuine feeling that trouble its slick surface, though ultimately its guarded glimpses into mortality and human weakness are betrayed by sentimentality.

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