John Lyttle on cinema

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Indy Lifestyle Online
What's the matter with When a Man Loves a Woman, apart from it being an inferior partial remake of Days of Wine and Roses? Well, basically it's the sort of material that gets made only because a star (or, in this case, stars) is interested in it. The story of an alcoholic wife (Meg Ryan) and her long-suffering husband (Andy Garcia), When A Man Loves A Woman (right) is actually 'worthy' TV movie material of a type even TV is done with. She drinks, he understands, she drinks, he doesn't understand, she dries out, he calms down. . . while the disgruntled audience sits there thinking 'Make mine a double'.

But the chance to play drunk is too much for some - ditto the opportunity to play saintly. Poor Meg doesn't want to be remembered as the actress who faked orgasm in public; she wants to be remembered as the actress who threw up in public instead. When a Man Loves a Woman doesn't do much for the movie-goer and it isn't meant to. It's not about entertainment or pleasure; it's about professional vanity and proving you're a heavyweight and winning awards, just like Debra Winger's turn in A Dangerous Woman (Oscar-nominated) and Sissy Spacek in The River (Oscar-nominated) and Richard Gere in King David (a hoot).

Most of these pictures lose money. They are as much indulgences for the studios as they are for the stars. They happen solely to keep the artists sweet and to get them to sign to some piece of trash they really don't want to do. It's tit for tat - emphasis on the tat - and damn the punters. They'll sit still for anything, won't they?

(Photograph omitted)