Comedy, Drama

She’s So Lovely (1997)

0 Comments 24 April 2013

Studio: Echo Bridge Entertainment / MiramaxShe's De Lovely

Theatrical Release: August 27, 1997

Blu Ray Release: May 7, 2013

Director: Nick Cassavetes

R

Review by James Klein

Written sometime in the 1980’s by John Cassavetes with Sean Penn in mind to star, the film was ultimately scrapped after the passing of Cassavetes. Some years later, son Nick took the script and decided to make the film the way his father wanted it made and casted Penn along with his then wife, Robin Wright and also John Travolta, Debi Mazur, James Gandolfini, and Harry Dean Stanton. The result is kind of a mish-mash of a decent story that never goes anywhere with characters suddenly reacting to situations in odd ways.

She’s So Lovely begins with a high strung Maureen (Wright), an alcoholic, chain smoking pregnant nutcase whose husband has gone missing yet again. As she searches for him via phone, her creepy next door neighbor (Gandolfini) tries to keep her company but ultimately just wants to get in her pants. As the two hit off, she soon refuses his advances much to his dismay. After an attempted rape that results in her getting beat up and his head smashed with a wine glass, she soon finds her husband Eddie (Penn) hanging out at their favorite bar. Not wanting to tell him anything because he’s bound to fly off the handle, she lies and tells him she fell down.

While the two go out with their friends to a late night dance club, we see how much this couple really loves one another despite their obvious flaws and quirky characteristics. Eddie’s boy-ish personality and quick witted humor seems to keep him afloat while just barely getting thru in life. He even somehow convinces the ticket lady to let him borrow money to get into the club as he’s flat broke. These two down on their luck losers are made for one another.

The next morning though, Eddie has suddenly turned into a crazed schizoid  as he finds out that the neighbor is the one who beat her up. After shooting the man’s door and kicking it in to find no one there, the irate Eddie goes back to his favorite bar to drink his problems away. This is where I have a problem with this character and the ultimately the film: Eddie goes from boy-ish and somewhat charming to this insane psycho the next. The change in characteristics is so great, its a bit jarring and out of place. Even as Eddie shoots a paramedic and is on the run, he acts nuttier than a fruitcake by taking off his pants and sitting at a park bench, talking to himself. This is very different to the character that danced with his wife the previous night.

Cut to ten years later, Eddie is getting out of an insane asylum but still seems pretty out of it. Thinking he was only in for three months, all he wants to do is see his wife Maureen. Maureen however has moved on with her life…sort of. She lives in the suburbs with her husband Joey (Travolta) and three children. But for some odd reason, she still holds a flame for Eddie and seems overly anxious the day he is suppose to be getting out of the hospital. Hot-tempered Joey wants none of this and brings Eddie to his home to have it all out in the open and hopefully get Eddie out of their lives.

She’s So Lovely ultimately works despite its problems due to the great acting by the cast and the talented Cassavetes behind the camera. The film is well made and the comedic moments in the film (mostly by Travolta and Harry Dean Stanton) are very funny. But it’s one of those films that when I think about it, the story itself just doesn’t make much sense. Why didn’t Maureen ever go visit Eddie in the hospital, who pretty much abandoned him and yet the two still care for each other? What mother would choose her children that she loves over her ex husband who is a crackpot? Even when Eddie tells Joey during their fight, “She doesn’t love you. She doesn’t love me. She’s the lovely.” I just scratch my head wondering what the hell does that mean. While I like the basic plot, the screenplay needed a few more revisions.

Echo Bridge’s blu ray does look good and the 2:35 image, while at times soft, looks pretty decent, as well as the 5.1 sound. The extra features on the disc are small and insufficient. One is a brief interview with Cassavetes about the film. The other is footage at some screening of actors and directors like Peter Bogdanovitch and Seymour Cassel speaking to an audience about working with the late John Cassavetes. This little feature almost seems misplaced on this blu ray, better suited for a different movie.

For fan’s of good acting and people who just want to be entertained with some laughs, She’s So Lovely may be worth checking out. But the odd screenplay with characters that suddenly act different or do strange things out of nowhere may throw off some viewers.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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