HONEYSUCKLE ROSE - Beltway Plaza, Buckingham, Fair City Mall, Jefferson, K-B Cerberus, Landover, Oxon Hill, Springfield Mall, Tenley Circle, Wheaton Plaza, White Fling.
"Honeysuckle Rose," Willie Nelson's new movie, is like a granola commercial. It's packed with every country cliche in the book -- skinnydipping in the ole swimming hole, hoedowns in the barn, mountains of home-cooked food piled high on picnic tables -- none of these mess complicating factors like flies buzzing around the privy or rusted-out refrigerators on the front porch.
Willie Nelson deserves better.
Nelson, whose earthy, country-without-rhinestones brand of music has done much to popularize country-and-western in the last few years, is a charismatic, if subdued, actor. But even his engaging presence can't hide this movie's multitude of sins, which include amateurish acting by almost everybody else and a plot like a bad C & W song.
Nelson plays a country star called Buck Bonham, who travels around the country singing his heart out in smalltown honky-tonks while hankering to hit the big time. What a life -- boozing it up with the boys on the bus, throngs of adoring women wherever he goes. No wonder he can't wait to get back on the road again.
Not that things are so bad at home, where he's got a wife (played by Dyan Cannon, sporting an alarmingly Medusa-like hairdo) and kid who adore him. But in one of many plot twists you can see coming a mile off, Buck hires his best friend's daughter (Amy Irving, not terribly convincing as either a country musician or a lusty lover) to go on the road with him and they hit it off. Too well, of course.
Discretion is not their strong point. In fact, at a concert in Texas, they do everything but make love on stage. Therewith follows the funniest scene in the movie, when Dyan Cannon storms up to the mike. "I'd like to announce our dee-vorce," she tells the audience. "Isn't that what country music is all about?"
"She must love you an awful lot to do what she did," someone tells Buck after she flounces off. Wha-a-a?
Anyway, the songs are wonderful.