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Something To Talk About

video review out of 4 Movie Review: Something To Talk About

Starring: Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Rated: R
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: August 1995
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Drama

*Also starring: Robert Duvall, Kyra Sedgwick, Gena Rowlands, Brett Cullen, Haley Aull, Muse Watson, Anne Shropshire, David Huddleston

Review by Steve Rhodes
½ star out of 4

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT is a story full of cheating Southern men, and their sad, angry, but ultimately loyal Southern women. As a Southerner, I had trouble identifying with the reality of the story, but the stereotypes were as familiar as the latest television soap opera.

In SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT, Grace Bichon (Julia Roberts) was going to be a vet, but got pregnant and married Eddie Bichon (Dennis Quaid) instead. They had a lovely daughter, Caroline Bichon (Haley Aull) who appears to be about 10 as the story opens. Grace is part of the old money South. Her father, Wyly King (Robert Duvall), and mother, Georgia King (Gena Rowlands), live in a mansion and raise jumping horses. Wyly has just spent $150,000 on a horse, and Grace is angry at his wasting money since he already has a champion caliber horse. Caroline is angry because she wants to ride a real horse rather than just a pony in the big race. Eddie's family is also loaded and is in a lucrative real estate deal with Wyly. Gosh, sounds just like back home - all Southerners live like that as everyone who owns a TV knows.

Into this tableaux, tragedy strikes immediately. Grace sees Eddie kissing another woman and soon after that she finds that he has been sleeping around like all of the other men in town. She leaves him to live with her parents who lecture her constantly on keeping her troubles to herself and how she should forgive and forget. Her sister, Emma Rae King (Kyra Sedgwick), wants her to leave Eddie and Emma Rae kicks him in the groin for good measure.

The script by Callie Khouri is full of incredulity's. How many grown daughters would use the F word while talking to their fathers? Do we really believe that Grace would stand up at a meeting with all of the local society women and announce everyone whom she thinks is sleeping with someone else? After Grace leaves Eddie, Khouri has Eddie for the most of the rest of the movie spending only brief seconds with his daughter, whom he calls his doodlebug and whom he loves so much. He just accepts that Grace can take his doodlebug away forever, and he has no rights. I don't buy him being that naive.

Khouri does come up with a few good one liners. The best one that is printable is Wyly's when he says, "I may have fooled around a little bit, but I have never cheated." The biggest problem with the script is that we get images and cliches, but no real story that engages the viewer, makes any of the characters more than stick figures, or makes you care about any of them.

Director Lasse Hallstroem who did the wonderful MY LIFE AS A DOG and the terrible WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE encourages all of his cast to overact. The worst is Gena Rowlands. Her performance was totally unbelievable and off the wall. Dennis Quaid who has done a few good movies like D.O.A. and GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!, but many more stinkers like UNDERCOVER BLUES (the bottom on my list in 1993), comes through with another embarrassing performance. Imagine a hurt puppy. Now cast the puppy as Eddie and give him a million dollars for acting. You get the idea. Duvall, who is usually good, was given a poorly written part and did nothing interesting with it.

The only acceptable acting was by Roberts who did a passable job as a sad woman who says she views herself as a failure. Sedgwick looked like her sister, but other than similar looks I found her performance of no value. The girl, Haley Aull, showed a lot of promise. Her acting would have been easier to listen to if they had not decided that she was going to have some missing teeth in the back of her mouth that gave her a strong lisp. Too cutesy for my taste.

There was a single good scene in the show - the dance scene between Eddie and Grace. Granted than given the characters, the scene at that point in the picture was not believable; nevertheless, it was a small delight in an otherwise dismal movie. They should have made a different movie and used that scene in it.

The movie was filmed on location in the horse country of Georgia and South Carolina. Nevertheless, the cinematography (Sven Nykvist) and the sets (Mel Bourne) were pretty blah. Only the close up scenes before the race had any imagination. The sound had major problems in the mixing and reminded me of some of the rough cuts you hear at a preview.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT meanders along at 1:45 because of loose editing by Mia Goldman. It is rated R solely for bad language. There is no sex, nudity, violence, or drugs. I do not even remember any smoking. Like all good Southern cliches, however, the characters all drank enough to have cirrhosis of the liver. Teenagers used to bad language would be not be harmed by seeing the show. On the other hand, I recommend everyone pass on this turkey and see any other movie instead. I award it a half star since it was not totally unbearable.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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