The Marrying Man ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This was the third of a trio of movies I bought for a buck apiece on Blu-ray at one of those places where everything is a dollar. Like the others, I knew nothing about it. I didn't even really look at the package credits very closely; they had me at Kim Basinger, frankly, who I've decided may have been the best throwback ingenue of her generation. Of course she earned an Oscar for her work in L.A. Confidential. She's the closest to embodying the sultry glamour of mythical Hollywood that I can think of, and watching her gamely take the stage half a dozen times throughout this movie affirmed that.

I was also unaware until the opening titles informed me that Neil Simon wrote this. It would be disingenuous for me to claim much familiarity with his work, but I have seen both Odd Couple movies (I love the first; scarcely remember the second). I of course knew that Simon knew the Hollywood of this era well and that the verisimilitude of the narrative originated with him, but I didn't really recognize his touch until their third breakup scene, when Vicki (Basinger) pleads with Charley (Alec Baldwin) not to withdraw from his friends. Simon knows depression, and that scene rang very true for me.

The Marrying Man isn't overtly about bipolar disorder, but clearly that's what's going on with Charley. It's actually rather sad to imagine how he would have fared without having been born into the money necessary to indulge the highs and mask the lows. This could easily have been a drama, but somehow I think it would have been off-putting that way. Playing it for laughs works better. We can empathize with Charley and see his story play out without having to go all the way down the rabbit hole. I was reminded of Intolerable Cruelty in that respect.

I did expect more to come from the character of Adele (Elisabeth Shue), and I was somewhat disappointed that she never reentered the story after Charley and Vicki's second wedding. There's some expository wrap-up for her, but without actually seeing her for most of the movie, it felt like a tease that was never paid off. Still, I suppose I ought to give credit for getting me invested and trying to guess along (even if I didn't do very well at it).

Note to Mill Creek Entertainment: the run time is 115 minutes, not the 90 you printed on the disc and insert.

How The Marrying Man Entered My Flickchart

The Marrying Man > Swing Vote --> #814
The Marrying Man < The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters --> #814
The Marrying Man < X-Men: First Class --> #814
The Marrying Man > The Milky Way (1940) --> #712
The Marrying Man > Penny Dreadful --> #661
The Marrying Man > What About Bob? --> #636
The Marrying Man < Exit Through the Gift Shop --> #636
The Marrying Man < Last Tango in Paris --> #636
The Marrying Man > Chase Me --> #631
The Marrying Man > Fanboys --> #630
The Marrying Man < Valz im Bashir --> #630

The Marrying Man entered my Flickchart at #630/1627