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Walking and Talking

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Walking and Talking

Starring: Catherine Keener, Anne Heche
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Rated: R
RunTime: 86 Minutes
Release Date: July 1996
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Todd Field, Liev Schreiber, Kevin Corrigan, Randall Batinkoff, Joe Siravo, Vincent Pastore, Lynn Cohen

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

WALKING AND TALKING is another one of those talkfest shows. With the right script these can be among the most enjoyable and rewarding of any cinematic experience. From MY DINNER WITH ANDRE to DINER to BEFORE SUNRISE, this is a genre of which I have always been especially fond. Thanks to an energetic cast this movie tries hard and almost delivers. Sad to say that the directing and writing by Nicole Holofcener is not of the same caliber. This is not a bad show just a disappointing one. It is one that keeps your attention and never drags.

WALKING AND TALKING starts with two preteen girls reading "The Joy of Sex" together in bed. They are enthralled with it, but after this brief scene we cut to them grown up and still friends. They are just as much interested in sex, but only one of them has been lucky in love, and the other is jealous.

Amelia (Catherine Keener who starred LIVING IN OBLIVION) and Laura (Anne Heche who played Juliet in THE JUROR) are two attractive young women. Laura is living with her fiance Frank (Todd Field who played Beltzer in TWISTER). They all live in New York City. Amelia works in the newspaper classified section, Laura is an apprentice therapist, and Frank designs costume jewelry including "men's leisure rings."

Amelia was once almost lucky in love. Her ex-boyfriend, Andrew (Liev Schreiber from DENISE CALLS UP), and she are still friends, but neither can figure out why they broke up. Their conversations trying to figure it out are among the best in the show. There is also a running gag about his having phone sex with this woman in San Francisco. Amelia does not approve, especially when he tries to borrow money from her to pay his enormous phone bill.

Into Amelia's life comes an ugly guy, Bill (Kevin Corrigan), who works at her local video store, and who is heavily into the horror movie production business. Laura and Frank jokingly encourage her friendship with Bill since he is so ugly, she will not have to worry about any commitments. A good one-night stand for her.

The show is so completely natural that it borders on amateurishness at times. The actors are all good, and it is an ensemble cast, but, on the whole, the show promises more than it delivers. The script is just not intelligent enough, and there are no memorable lines. I like the characters and the acting, but there is just not quite enough there.

WALKING AND TALKING runs 1:30. It is rated R. There is more bad language than there needs to be, and there is a single brief drug scene. There is no sex, nudity, or violence. Even the skinny-dipping scene is done with their underwear on. The show would be fine for any teenager. It is a marginal call, but there is not enough substance for me to be able to recommend it. I give it **.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

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