Francis Coppola's touted "return to form" (1986) has almost no form at all. It's grave, lumbering, arrhythmic, and bloated, an emotional hogwallow of catchpenny insights and easy sentimentality. Kathleen Turner plays the title character, a soon-to-be-divorced middle-aged businesswoman who blacks out at a high school reunion and finds herself transported 25 years back in time; accordingly, she sets out to remake her own life (and the lives of everyone around her) with the benefit of hindsight (or is it foresight?) and accumulated adult experiences. There are enough tear-stained reunions (with mom, dad, sis, and all and sundry) and radiating smiles in this to fill a funeral parlor, though the funeral, if there is one, must be for Coppola's reputation as a filmmaker. The endemic backward glancing of the first two Godfathers, The Cotton Club, etc (even the futuristic Rumble Fish had ruefulness aplenty for roads not taken) evolves here finally into a full-blown excuse for a theme, with the filmmaker irrevocably sinking into the nostalgic backwash of missed possibilities. It's tradition-of-quality filmmaking at its most soggily reverential and complacent: handsomely upholstered, handsomely performed, handsomely inert. In short, a real bagful. With Nicolas Cage, Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks, Joan Allen, Kevin J. O'Connor, Barbara Harris, Maureen O'Sullivan, and an appealingly twinkly Leon Ames.
By Pat Graham