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movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Speechless

Starring: Geena Davis, Michael Keaton
Director: Ron Underwood
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: December 1994
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Christopher Reeve, Bonnie Bedelia, Ernie Hudson, Charles Martin Smith, Gailard Sartain, Ray Baker, Mitchell Ryan, Harry Shearer

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

SPEECHLESS is a story of the love/hate romance between rival speechwriters in a New Mexico senatorial campaign. They are a month away from the election, and Geena Davis and Michael Keaton are competing with each other to get their candidate elected while having a romance at the same time. The story has superficial similarities to the real life romance between Bush's speechwriter, Mary Matalin, and Clinton's speechwriter, James Carville.

The two speechwriters alternate between playing tricks on each other and helping out each other in getting their candidates elected. They have a romance full of sight gags like the cliched love making scene in a much too small car (MG I think). Throughout the movie, their bosses never realize who the other speechwriter is. Right.

The movie starts slow but has two or three good laughs. After that it is downhill all the way. Keaton and Davis are both uneven actors. Keaton is better at his best that Davis, but they both have had many brilliant and many embarrassing roles in their repertoire. Here thanks to some awful direction by Ron Underwood and a miserable script (SPEECHLESS is a perfect title given the quality of the script) by writer Robert King, Keaton and Davis play unbelievable and worse, boring characters. It was like they were on Prozac in some of the scenes.

Screenwriting 101 teaches that romantic comedies should either be romantic or funny and preferably both. This movie was neither.

The worse part of the movie was the ending. Which senator would win you were wondering? Having given up on romance or comedy, at least you could hope for a little mystery. The ending was totally out of left field. It was as if one candidate had to drop out because he admitted to having adopted a space alien.

Finally, being a political junkie, I figured I would at least like the show for the political aspects. Well, there was no Contract with America to argue over here. These candidates had no apparent belief in anything and, moreover, did not even claim to believe in anything. Success was getting the lead on the local stations with any story including inviting TV crews into your home to watch you make dinner and to show how cute your dog is. Zzzzzzz.

Copyright 1994 Steve Rhodes

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