Monday, April 5, 2010

Living Large

I saw this one on an airplane a long time ago, and for some reason, I wanted Ms. Spenser to see it: Love at Large: 1990, Tom Berenger starred, Alan Rudolph directed. Ever heard of it?

Tom Berenger is a private eye in a bad relationship with a crazy retro girlfriend. He gets a call from a mysterious women who wants him to trail her man. He takes the job, and soon finds the secret of the man he is tailing: He has at least 2 wives. But there are 2 things Berenger doesn't realize: He is tailing the wrong man, and someone is tailing him - Elizabeth Perkins.

So, although our "hero" is a detective, this isn't a mystery movie, it is more of a romantic comedy. Berenger brags that he is very good at what he does, but he doesn't come across as very bright. He also has a strange gritty growl to his voice. He sounds kind of like John Candy in a Robert Redford's body. He has love troubles, his client has love troubles, the man he is trailing has love troubles, and so does the woman trailing him. It's a little sad, but mostly laughable.

The look of the movie is totally retro. Berenger's girlfriend wears like poodle skirts and a beehive and listens to lounge music on vinyl. Berenger's client wears a cocktail dress and hat with a veil, and they listen a jazz combo. Everyone drives cars with "Classic" in their name. It's mostly filmed in Portland, a very retro town, with a trip out to a ranch near Bend. It's quite lovely, but I'm not sure I get the point - does this have something to do with the 1990's swing revival? Or is it a hattip to classic noir? Whatever, it's fun anyway.

This is not a great movie. I guess I can understand why it got so little attention - it's a small movie, with little more ambition than to entertain a few people. It certainly did that for me and a little more. It reminds me of Into the Night, which we just watched, but not quite as good. It even has a rock star in a minor role: Neil Young plays the guy Berenger was supposed to track. Sad to say, he is not menacing like Bowie was in Into the Night.

In conclusion, let me mention the theme song by Leonard Cohen, "There Ain't No Cure for Love". Nice song, that guy is going to go places some day.

1 comment:

mr. schprock said...

One seen-on-an-airplane movie have in my queue is Waking Ned Divine. I saw that on the way back from Italy. Loved it then, looking forward to it now.