Picture, Jeff Bridges and Sally field in "Kiss Me Goodbye"
Director Robert Mulligan describes "Kiss Me Goodbye" as reminiscent of romantic comedies of the '30s -- essentially "90 minutes of foreplay." But the film doesn't even get to first base.
Sally Field stars as Kay Villano, wealthy widow of New York choreographer Jolly Villano. Like Dona Flor before her, she's haunted by her late husband's blithe spirit (James Caan). In her case, his tap-dancing spectre materializes one week before she's to wed Egyptologist Rupert Baines (Jeff Bridges).
Theirs promises to be an eternal triangle unless Rupert can exorcize the competition. He first learns about Jolly as he tries to make love to Kay, who remains chaste as a flying nun with her ex hovering at bedside. Meanwhile, we wait for Field's form-fitting satin nightgown to rip, as we had earlier done with her snug slacks. Later she shows up in backless heels and a cerise ruffled number that Charo would shun. It's no wonder Claire Trevor -- who plays Kay's mother Charlotte -- chose another couturier for her on-screen duds.
Well-kempt and snide, Trevor's brittle putdowns and Bridges' low-key comedic charm save this moderately amusing film from total banality. They share a chemistry that he and Field lack.
Caan, on the other hand, is repulsively jaunty as the dear departed. He seems to think he's playing a leprechaun. And Field goes back to her "Gidget" days for her role. She's a precocious, pert hysteric, never convincingly distraught when her first husband spooks her. Boo.
Talk about a script that could have used a ghost writer. Even copying Noel Coward's surefire scenario from "Blithe Spirit" didn't help. Kay tries to choose between the quick and the dead in a series of scenes that refuse to be funny no matter how hard everybody tries. Unless the spirit moves you, just give "Kiss Me Goodbye" the buss off. KISS ME GOODBYE -- AMC Carrollton, Hybla Twin, Jenifer, Loehmann's Plaza, Laurel Twin, Roth's Seven Locks, Showcase Fair City, Wheaton.