Case Number 09468

ALMOST YOU

Fox // 1985 // 96 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Steve Evans (Retired) // June 16th, 2006

The Charge

Love is no accident.

Opening Statement

A yuppie couple whose marriage is on the rocks bitch and moan for 97 minutes. Their quirky New York friends make wry jokes. Someone commits adultery. This might play better as a made-for-television rom-com, with the blessed interruption of commercials. Griffin Dunne (An American Werewolf in London) and Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) deserve better than a low-rent riff on Woody Allen films.

Facts of the Case

Alex (Dunne) and Erica (Adams) realize their marriage is falling apart. Alex is bored with his life, wife, and job. Erica has lost interest in work. When she is struck by a taxi while crossing the street, the accident has an unexpected ripple effect across four lives.

Once home from the hospital, Erica must spend her days in a wheelchair, unable to have sex while she recuperates. This naturally does nothing to improve her attitude. Erica hires a pretty physical therapist, Lisa (Karen Young, Jaws: the Revenge)), who makes house calls. She's young, vivacious, alive, and Alex is soon looking her over. Alex thinks maybe he could ditch Erica and start life over with lovely Lisa. But Lisa's actor boyfriend isn't ready to let go.

The Evidence

Almost You was co-written and directed by Adam Brooks, who has worked primarily as a screenwriter in the 21 years since this was released (most recently he wrote Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason). His writing chops have improved in the last two decades; I can't speak to improvements in his directing, which is static and uninspired in the picture before us. Brooks goes for shrill over subtle, for screaming matches and sarcasm instead of well-wrought dialogue and witty bon mots.

Acting is competent and occasionally inspired, but Dunne, Adams, and the supporting cast all play essentially amoral and unlikable characters (Alex cheats on his wife twice while she recuperates from a serious injury), so their thespian exertions are moot. The problem lies with the story. In a world full of problems and people worth caring about, a film should at least present individuals with unusual problems (or unusual ways of solving them). Marital angst among the smug and upwardly mobile just isn't the stuff of compelling drama, at least not as presented here.

Dunne, especially, can be seen to much better effect in Martin Scorsese's criminally underrated After Hours, released the same year. Scorsese's film offers a much better take on the dangers of complacency and misplaced desire during the Reagan years.

Video and a choice of three audio options, including Dolby stereo and mono, are fine if unspectacular. The transfer is crisp and free of artifacts. There are no extras beyond a trailer.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

The disc includes 1.85:1 and full frame versions of the film, but why bother with full frame?

Closing Statement

A dull artifact of a supremely self-absorbed era.

The Verdict

Yawn.

Review content copyright © 2006 Steve Evans; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 90
Audio: 85
Extras: 10
Acting: 90
Story: 60
Judgment: 67

Perp Profile
Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* English
* Spanish

Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Theatrical Trailer

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0086876/combined