She's So Lovely

USA - 1997

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

John Cassavetes wrote the script for "She So Lovely" thirty years ago and it's a darned shame that this quirky, funny when you'd least expect it story didn't get made then. Even with son Nick directing, there's no getting past the fact that the 'she' of the title was written with Cassavetes' wife, Gena Rowlands in mind. Once the film gets going it doesn't take long to realize how truly irreplaceable Ms. Rowlands is.

The story begins with Eddie and Mo, played by actual married couple Sean Penn and Robin Wright, living the ecstasy of true love, skid row style. They spend their nights drinking and their days sleeping it off, even when Mo becomes pregnant. Ah but the days of this boozy Garden of Eden are numbered. A lustful next door neighbor rapes Mo, and when Eddie figures out what's happened, he takes off, gun in hand to make the world a better place. Instead he ends up in a mental hospital. Don't get me wrong, Eddie's a sweetheart, he's just a little wobbly emotionally.

Flash forward ten years. Mo's out in the 'burbs, living large with hubby number two, played by John Travolta. He's stable and worships the ground she wavers on, but when Eddie's due to be released, Mo's ready to ditch it all for him, leaving a beautifully befuddled Travolta trying to decide if there is a right thing to do under the circumstances.

Robin Wright makes a mighty effort, but she lacks Rowlands grit and substance, coming across as insipid, and worse, annoying. Her Mo is squinty, with the mental resolve of a damp sponge. Why either man would want her in the first place, much less back, is a total mystery.

As for Penn, he's terrific. He can go from, believe it if you dare, cuddly to psycho in less than two seconds. It's uncanny how his face screws up to less than half it's size and turns tomato red on cue.

I won't give away the ending of "She's So Lovely," but I will share with you what I think would have been perfect. Penn and Travolta figure out that she's so awful, and decide to set up housekeeping themselves. Now there's a plot twist I can really get behind.

© 1997 Andrea Chase Air Date: 9/3/97

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