That Old Feeling

That Old Feeling, directed by Carl Reiner, is a vehicle for Bette
Midler to do her First
Wives’ Club
all over again, but this time in the Goldie Hawn role as the over-the-hill
starlet, Lilly. Dennis Farina plays her ex-husband, Dan, with whom she is said
to have a hostile relationship with nuclear capability. Her daughter, Molly
(Paula Marshall), a Yale graduate student, is about to marry a young, clean-cut,
Mr.Family-values Republican called Keith (Jamie Denton), who is running for
Congress and suggests to him that they elope so that there
won’t be a wedding to which both
parents will have to be invited. He pooh-poohs her concerns, but soon sees what
she means when there is a huge shouting match at the reception. This leads to
passionate sex, though they are both married to other people, and a sort of
reconciliation. If you can call it that.

Having told you this much, I imagine you can guess the rest for yourselves.
Keith naturally turns out to be, like all movie Republicans, a bad guy and a
hypocrite, and Dan’s and
Lilly’s current spouses, are also
ridiculous and contemptible. Rowena (Gail
O’Grady) is an interior decorator
whose sole concern about getting divorced from Dan seems to be that it will
damage her professionally. Likewise,
Lilly’s husband Alan (David Rasche) is
a celebrity marriage counselor and author of the book, The Tao of
, worried that his clients will abandon him if his own marriage
fails. He is that stock figure, the neurotic shrink, whose three little yapping
dogs he treats as children. His psychobabble is predictable source of humor, but
still humorous. He talks about the fact that
“what people want from marriage is
emotional valet parking” but how
“you have to be
validated” and uses not only
as a verb.

You might be slightly more surprised to learn that the personable young
paparazzo whom Lilly calls “the
cockroach” but whose real name is Joey
(Danny Nucci) turns out the right young man for Molly — though only after she gives him an instant makeover. Of course it does not surprise that
Hollywood finds it easier to imagine paparazzi as human beings than Republicans.
Lilly describes her renewed intimacy with Dan as being
“the happiest
I’ve been since it was OK to take
drugs.” And of course, it is the drug
of passion and folly and infidelity that wins out over the dutiful Yalie in
Molly in the end. As the good characters are left to pair off according to the
best Hollywood principles, poor Keith is left to shout after them:
liberals!” Amen, brother.

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