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‘Breaking the Rules’

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
October 09, 1992


Neal Israel
Jason Bateman;
C. Thomas Howell;
Jonathan Silverman;
Annie Potts;
Krista Tesreau
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent

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In "Breaking the Rules" it is revealed early that Jason Bateman has a fatal disease. But the tragedy is not that Bateman is dying; it's how long it takes.

Terminal Bateman decides to reunite childhood pals C. Thomas Howell and Jonathan Silverman. The latter has never forgiven ladykiller Howell for stealing his woman. But when Bateman informs them of his leukemia, they bury the hatchet. Invited for a "Jeopardy!" tryout in California, Bateman asks them to accompany him on what could be his last road trip -- with the worst pop soundtrack ever.

The twentysomething-meisters learn about life and death. They also realize that even if "Breaking" were the only movie made this year, they still wouldn't be nominated for an Oscar. Fire-breather Bateman vents revenge on a road-hogging redneck. On a night walk in the woods, he finds himself muzzle to muzzle with a bear. ("We stood there looking into each other's souls.")

Women are dying to be picked up, from a born-again Christian ice skater to eccentric waitress Annie Potts, who kisses before taking orders. My vote for Most Special Moment is the threesome's a cappella rendering of "You Really Got a Hold on Me." At first you think they're supposed to be lip-syncing to a record. Then you realize with horror they're meant to be singing.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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