Home Pge, Site Index, Search, Help

'The Morning After' (R)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 26, 1986

There's pain, but no gain in Jane Fonda's "The Morning After," a non-impact thriller about a hard-drinking Hollywood has-been who wakes up in bed with a corpse and no memory of the night before. Jeff Bridges costars as a retired detective who helps solve the mystery -- which is about as suspenseful as Fonda's Pregnancy Workout.

James Hicks -- pen name for James "Household Name" Cresson, just in case you might recognize him -- writes the pedestrian drama in which our frowsy-haired, fuzzy-thinking heroine is perhaps the only one who doesn't know whodunit. The choices are Fonda, Bridges (who proved the suprise culprit in "Jagged Edge") and Raul Julia, in a costarring role as Fonda's estranged hairdresser husband.

Julia adds an occasional spark in his role of a social-climbing Chicano, national origin being important here because the Bridges character is such a bigot -- "an anthropologist for the Klan," as Fonda puts it. Apparently she is not the WASP she seems either, and Bridges' religious intolerance -- overdone and out of context -- is put to the test when he learns that she might be Jewish.

But what the heck, our hung-over heroine falls hard for our good 'ol boy gumshoe as they move toward a resolution. Such chemistry, too. When they finally kiss each other hard on the lips, it's like two vacuum cleaners in a clinch.

Fonda's performance reeks of self-discipline, of mental push-ups and buttock tucks. But she should have stretched: You've got to be loose to play a lush. Bridges is cuddly, kindly and doesn't fool anybody for a minute. He looks as enthusiastic as the fourth guy down the couch from Johnny Carson. And Sidney Lumet of "The Verdict" directs with all the subtlety of a Ukrainian snowplow. The tempo is slushy and there's not a good scare in sight.

Copyright The Washington Post

Back to the top

Home Page, Site Index, Search, Help