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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Town and Country (review)

Porter and Ellie (Warren Beatty: Bulworth, and Diane Keaton: The Godfather) are bestest friends with Griffin and Mona (Garry Shandling, and Goldie Hawn: The Out- of- Towners). They fly to Paris for dinner to celebrate wedding anniversaries. They pile the dogs into the Land Rover for the pilgrimage from Fifth Avenue to the Hamptons beach house. They have housekeepers everywhere. They’re all cheating on one another, threatening long marriages and friendships. Boo-freaking-hoo. Oh, wait: We’re supposed to be laughing at this ridiculous sitcom. A score more appropriate to the Roadrunner accompanies the bedhopping antics of these utterly unsympathetic people, the appalling ethnic stereotypes — “hilarious” foreigners highlight how white and rich and American Porter and Ellie and Griffin and Mona are — and the increasingly absurd vignettes about the sex lives of the rich that are meant to flesh out a story that’s as skeletal as Charlton Heston (Ben-Hur) is in his bizarre cameo. What starts out as house porn — all hardwood floors and designer fabrics and black-tie parties at palatial estates — quickly degenerates into a patchwork of senseless “jokes” — why would a ritzy antique dealer have a dusty old chair out for guests in his office? — and finally into a kind of Dumb and Dumber pastiche for the jetset. It’s all rather unfunny and depressingly predictable: any gorgeous young woman who shows her face onscreen — be she Andie MacDowell (The Muse), Jenna Elfman (EDtv), or Nastassja Kinski (The Claim) — is going to fall madly in love with Warren, er, Porter, while he’s trying to figure out why he should stick with Ellie, whom he married 25 years earlier, when he was still a “kid” of 40. There’s nothing sadder than watching someone try to cling to a youth that’s long gone, except when we’re supposed to laughing at it.

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MPAA: rated R for sexuality and langauge

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
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