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Micki & Maude
A more repulsive movie than Micki & Maude, this reviewer cannot scarcely imagine...
This shouldn't exactly come as a surprise to most who have seen the film. Indeed, I remember watching the film in theaters back in 1984, as a big Dudley Moore fan, and coming out of the cineplex thinking, "OK, that wasn't exactly a barrel full of laughs, but at least it was a moderately entertaining two hours."
I was thirteen. How little did I know!
Micki & Maude is the type of film that seems to be summed up in its premise: Rob Salinger wants to divorce his wife (Ann Reinking). He has an affair, and his mistress (Amy Irving) gets pregnant. He then plans to divorce his wife, only to find out she's pregnant. Salinger doesn't want to divorce his wife because, due to an intense pregnancy, she might lose the baby. However, he doesn't want to leave his mistress either because it will break her heart. So Salinger decides to marry his mistress and attempts to hide both marriages from both wives. Hilarity ensues!
OK, maybe with a sharper script and a deeper satirical edge, Micki & Maude could have been a much stronger and less offensive movie. The late Dudley Moore's specialty was in portraying put-upon men lost in Herculean struggles of 20th-Century socio/sexual politics: witness his great turns in 10, the always phenomenal Arthur, and the admittedly-flawed but still under-appreciated Unfaithfully Yours. His quick wit, short stature, and likable nature made him an endearing screen presence and strong screen protagonist... which, unfortunately, works completely against this film. The minute this film begins to demonstrate its sympathies towards Moore's character is the minute this bizarre farce becomes blatantly revolting. His original wife, Micki, is a dedicated career woman whose packed schedule precludes any chance of raising a family. His mistress, Maude, is a sensitive cellist with romantic dreams and familial aspersions. While this scenario presents an opportunity to skewer patriarchal perceptions of gender roles in respect towards traditional expectations, Micki & Maude instead slants its sensibilities towards Salinger, as though the earnestness and sincerity of his own desires supersedes those of both women. Sure, lies and deceptions are bad... but he was driven to it with best of intentions!
It's too bad, because given the inherent satirical premise of the situation, Micki & Maude could have been mined for black-comedic gold. Instead, it remains a limp, mealy-mouthed, and revolting piece of cinema.
The video presentation on this DVD is surprisingly pleasant. The transfer is rendered in its original widescreen theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and has been anamorphically enhanced for your widescreen-viewing giddiness. The video, for the most part, screams "I'm from the mid-1980s; Love me!!" Fortunately, there's much to enjoy. Colors are sharp and strong. Image detail is reasonable if slightly soft, giving the film a soft but pleasant haze. Contrasts are well delivered. There is some noticeable print wear and marks throughout the transfer, but nothing too excessive. For a twenty-year-old catalog title, Micki & Maude looks pretty darn good.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. You're not going to get a lot of surprise out of this audio, which is for the most part a monaural presentation. However, it serves the film very well, delivering solid dialog levels and orchestral score reproduction.
There are four Trailers for some other Columbia/Tri-Star DVD product. Sadly, none of them are for Micki & Maude.
Micki & Maude is a film with a pretty strong pedigree, including Dudley Moore, Blake Edwards, the always-lovely Amy Irving, and the always-hilarious Wallace Shawn. Too bad the repulsive storyline (from a script by Jonathan Reynolds) pretty much demolishes any enjoyment once could ever derive from this film. And there are some worthwhile aspects of Micki & Maude. However, these are few and far in between, and not worth having to endure almost two hours of some pretty insulting garbage to get to the funniest scene in the movie (featuring Wallace Shawn and Lu Leonard as a pair of mismatched lovers).
So I hated Micki & Maude, but I'm aware that others might have enjoyed the movie much more than I did. So, as strictly a technical review, this DVD is, save for a handful of trailers, pretty bare-boned. However, the presentation of the movie is pretty solid. If you're a fan of the movie, the DVD will be mildly satisfying. However, everyone else should steer completely clear of this drek. Feh!
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