When you start a picture with the nude body of Susan Sarandon swimming in a pool, while Paul Newman stands by watching, you think - Hmmm, this could be a good one! What you get, instead, is bored.
I don't know how writer/director Benton managed not only to talk an outstanding cast into this movie but also Paramont into releasing this sleeper, but ya gotta give the guy a pat on the back.
The story centers around the lives of ex-movie stars (Susan Sarandon & Gene Hackman), their precocious daughter (Reese Witherspoon), their pal (Paul Newman), his ex-lover (Stockard Channing), the ex-studio security chief (James Garner) and Sarandon's missing first husband (never seen, never known, never missed - probably the best played part in the movie).
The Plot (?) Sarandon & Hackman owe Newman in a big way. He is a former policeman, a former private eye and a former drunk. Before his life really hit the skids, he was involved in a lusty relationship with Stockard Channing, who is now a high profile detective.
As a favor to his buddies, Newman makes a little trip to Mexico to bring the 17 year old daughter back home from her fling in the sheets with bad boy, Liev Schreiber. This encounter is one of the few good ones in the movie as Witherspoon gets her hands on Newman's gun and aims for the holy land. Fortunately, Newman moves and get the bullet in the leg instead.
So, as we plod along at an even slower pace, the happy parents move Newman on the compound and house him in a little shack over the garage (their swimming pool is larger than my entire house). The rest becomes fairly predictable and mundane: Newman sleeps with Sarandon, Newman and Hackman are best buds so Hackman tells him he is dying of cancer, Witherspoon becomes even more weary of the trials of her defunct family, Garner becomes even more evil and is living way beyond his means, Newman gets involved in a murder and hooks up with Channing again ~ blah, blah, blah. Oh, Lord, with this cast couldn't you have the decency to develop a friggin movie?
Thoughts Well, except for the cute little shooting scene with Witherspoon and the enticing glimpse of Sarandon in the nude (of course, this is inferred but never confirmed), the rest of the movie was basically overdone elaborate movie star compound homes, the life of the rich and famous and miserable. Where are the drugs? Where is the sex? Where is the friggin story line? This movie is so ssslllooowww it forgot to bring the plot along. Twilight? No twilight here, baby, it is pure REM sleep!
The Actors (?) Paul Newman - (I hate to say this) plodding, boring, blah, looked old, acted old, looked tired and acted tired.
Gene Hackman - slow, uneventful, too serene
Reese Witherspoon - poutish, bored, some great nude shots (OK, so I'm a sleeze).
Stockard Channing - predictable, a little frisky, doesn't make a believable detective.
John Spencer - always a great actor, solid and dependable.
James Garner - evil, rakish, smarmy bad boy. Good nasty role for him.
Susan Sarandon - hot, sizzling, sensual - the back bone of the whole movie.
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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As in his 1977 film THE LATE SHOW, Robert Benton focuses on a private detective who's playing the back nine. With the passing of a quarter century, however, the director's tone had grown more somber. Paul Newman stars as the detective, Harry Ross, living in semiretirement in Santa Monica on the estate owned by his movie-star friends, Jack (Gene Hackman) and Catherine Ames (Susan Sarandon). When Harry delivers a package as a favor to Jack, he finds fellow private dick Lester Ivar (M. Emmett Walsh) dying from a bullet wound. Harry checks out Ivar's apartment, where he uncovers 20-year-old clippings relating to the disappearance of Catherine's first husband. As he tries to get to the bottom of the case, he enlists the help of a former lover, LAPD lt. Verna Hollander (Stockard Channing), and receives unsolicited assistance from feckless chauffeur Reuben Escobar (Giancarlo Esposito). Ex-cop and former studio security chief Raymond Hope (James Garner) also seems to know a thing or two about the case. Strong en...