DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews
 
HEARTBURN (director: Mike Nichols; screenwriter: book by Nora Ephron/Nora Ephron; cinematographer: Nestor Almendros; editor: Sam O'Steen; music:  Carly Simon; cast: Meryl Streep (Rachel), Jack Nicholson (Mark), Jeff Daniels (Richard), Maureen Stapleton (Vera), Stockard Channing (Julie), Richard Masur (Arthur), Catherine O'Hara (Betty), Steven Hill (Harry), Milos Forman (Dmitri), Natalie Stern (Annie), Karen Akers (Thelma Rice), Aida Linares (Juanita), Anna Maria Horsford (Della); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Mike Nichols/; Paramount; 1986)

"The food-sex jokes come off half-baked."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It's based on the 1983 bestseller by Nora Ephron and relates her account of her rocky marriage to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, but uses different names. Mike Nichols ("Postcards from the Edge"/"The Fortune"/"Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?") tries to make it witty, but even if he connects with his portrayals of sophisticated dwellers on NYC's Upper West Side and residents of the posh Georgetown community in Washington D.C., he never gets much else right and seems uninspired over the project.

Meryl Streep plays the divorced food writer who marries the divorced lady's man Washington newspaper columnist (Jack Nicholson). While she's pregnant he has an affair with a famous Washington hostess (Karen Akers), which puts a damper on their marriage. Streep looms as an unsympathetic character who can't handle the comedy tossed into the dramatic fireworks, while Nicholson gets all the best lines but appears to be a shallow cad. The food-sex jokes come off half-baked, as the pic comes off undernourished or more desultory than it should be. In any case, we can see why the so-called perfect Jewish couple to outsiders were less than perfect, and no spaghetti carbonara dish will save this hostile non-communicative marriage from heartburn.

REVIEWED ON 11/22/2015       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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