Without any sign of the Roman candles she sent aloft in her first film, this one fizzles in spite of an occasional burst of bubbles from its stars.


A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.

Something out" may be writer Callie Khouri's breather between "Thelma and Louise" and her next big script. She has written some very funny lines, but they are bottled in a curiously uninteresting plot that deals with nothing more than the high cost of infidelity. Without any sign of the Roman candles she sent aloft in her first film, this one fizzles in spite of an occasional burst of bubbles from its stars.

Julia Roberts is quick and sharp as Grace, the wife who spots her husband through a plate glass window having dinner with his paramour. Dennis Quaid is warm and cuddly as Eddie, the husband who accepts his banishment from the family and spends the rest of the movie trying to get back in.

Roberts's finest comic moment comes in a delicious scene when she demands that the charity board on which she serves come clean about relations with her husband. With terrific timing, she unleashes a barrage of challenges to the pseudoproper gathering about the closet love affairs of the closeknit community. It's a very funny blast at the collusion of women in the culture of infidelity.

It's by no means immaterial that all this takes place in horse country of uncertain Southern flavor. Grace and her sister Emma Rae (Kyra Sedgwick) spend a great deal of time in the big white house of their parents, Wyly (Robert Duvall) and Georgia (Gena Rowlands.) It seems that most of them are past, present. or future champions in the competitive riding world.

It follows that a great deal of this movie takes place in the barn. Two handsome riders wander in and out of the barn and Grace's life without our ever understanding why they are there. They look enough alike that we are always wondering which is Hank and which is Jamie (Muse Watson and Brett Cullen).

Gena Rowlands and Robert Duvall are far too capable for their limited roles. Wyly, it seems, has bought a pricey horse and will prove to the world that he can still ride him. At the other end of the age spectrum, Grace's small daughter will prove she can win ahead of schedule.

It's possible, I suppose, that someone could write an interesting movie about infidelity in the riding world, but Khouri hasn't done it. The movie shifts abruptly and repeatedly from Grace and Eddie's misery to the problems of the horse lovers without connecting any of the threads. What pleasure there is lies in watching the pros at work, particularly Kyra Sedgwick, who steals the show with her zippy delivery of the film's best lines.

Infidelity isn't much more compelling among riders than it is in the world of cabdrivers, stockbrokers, or tennis players, and such a tried and tired old theme just can't carry a whole movie without help from another quarter. No one rides over the hill to rescue this movie.

Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 490
Studio : Warner Bros.
Rating : R
Running Time: 1h46m

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