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Story of Us

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Story of Us

Starring: Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer
Director: Rob Reiner
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: October 1999
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Casey Boersma, Jake Sandvig, Rita Wilson, Julie Hagerty, Tim Matheson, Rob Reiner, Colleen Rennison

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Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

Instead of the usual vows, perhaps the marriage ceremony should include the question: "Do you have any idea how difficult this is going to be?" Because that's what intrigued filmmaker Rob Reiner to wonder: Can any couple with two kids survive together for 15 years? Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer play a suburban dad-and-mom whose constant quarrels have made them decide on a trial separation while their kids are in summer camp. As they fumble through the nitty-gritty of living apart, flashbacks reveal what abrasive episodes led up to their edgy estrangement. Basically, she's a crossword-puzzle creator who's a highly organized, compulsive perfectionist while he's a laid-back, playful writer who flourishes in an unstructured existence. (One is tempted to interpret Willis' obviously raw hurt as a spillover from his real-life divorce from Demi Moore.) Writers Alan Zweibel and Jessie Nelson re-visit bittersweet marital territory that's been explored many times before, stressing that any successful relationship is a work-in-progress. One winces for the obvious hair pieces and/or transplants Willis feels compelled to wear, while Pfeiffer is so breathtakingly beautiful that her efforts to be a plain housewife are pathetic. And when Jayne Meadows, Tom Poston, Betty White, and Red Buttons pop up as the in-laws, you're acutely aware that these are aging stars playing cameos. Nevertheless, Reiner's slickly inventive direction and the sheer charm and likeability of Willis and Pfeiffer prevail, set to the tune of Eric Clapton's guitar strumming "I'm Sorry." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Story of Us" is a shaky, sentimental 6. It's "When Harry Met Sally" - 15 years later - with "best friend" Rita Wilson outrageously attempting to update the orgasm-in-a-deli scene.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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