Monday, October 24, 2011

Made for Each Other (1971)

Actors Joseph Bologna and Renée Taylor have been married in real life since the mid-’60s, and they’ve written and performed a number of lighthearted projects together for film, television, and theater. One of their earliest endeavors was this low-budget romantic comedy about a pair of neurotic New Yorkers who meet in an encounter group, embark on a whirlwind romance, and bicker their way to the realization that they love each other. The premise is fine, and the offscreen history that Bologna and Taylor share lets them get totally comfortable with each other onscreen; their interplay feels credible and spontaneous from start to finish. Unfortunately, the characters that Bologna and Taylor wrote for themselves are unrelentingly shrill. Gig (Bologna) is a nasty blowhard who perceives himself as a world-class stud, while Pandora (Taylor) is a lunatic who fancies herself a cabaret performer even though she can’t dance, sing, or tell jokes. To the duo’s credit, Bologna and Taylor don’t take the obvious route of showing these misfits supporting each other until their crazy ol’ dreams come true. However, in eschewing predictability and cheap sentiment, the writer-stars overcompensate by showing their characters berating each other so incessantly that it’s hard to see what they enjoy about each other. It’s true that Gig and Pandora would be intolerable to anyone except fellow basket cases, but still, where’s the fun in watching overbearing narcissists realize they’re stuck with each other? If Bologna and Taylor had some sort of satirical intent in mind, perhaps skewering the extremes of Me Decade self-centeredness, it’s not evident amid the screeching arguments and suffocating self-loathing. FYI, Olympia Dukakis and Paul Sorvino show up in supporting roles as Gig’s loutish parents.

Made for Each Other: LAME

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