The Story of Us

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Rob Reiner

REVIEWED: 10-18-99

Think of director Rob Reiner's latest relationship riff as "When Harry and Sally Started Hating Each Other." Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer are Ben and Katie, a once-cute couple whose 15-year marriage now oscillates between frosty silences and rehashed recriminations. To split or not to split is the question, as these self-absorbed whiners contemplate their compatibility in a veritable scrapbook of chronologically challenged flashbacks.

American Beauty it's not. Banal and maddeningly cliché'd, the script, penned by Alan Zweibel and Jessie Nelson, reduces matrimony to a fatuous, penis-versus-vagina battle of the sexes. And what the film lacks in insight it doesn't gain in humor, mining laughs from a memory lane of outdated 'dos and the ample ass of Reiner, who, along with the borderline-offensive Rita Wilson, plays one of the pair's gibbering pals. Even Pfeiffer, in her big crying scene, snivels like a bad imitation of Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscar speech, and Willis, in V-neck-sweater mode, coasts through, a caricature of distress. Here love hurts all right -- it hurts to watch.

--Alicia Potter

Full Length Reviews
The Story of Us
The Story of Us

Capsule Reviews
The Story of Us

Other Films by Rob Reiner
The American President

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