Two years camera shy, Sally Field poses shamelessly as a pinup girl in her comeback performance. She's flexing and flaunting in "Surrender," a mean-spirited romantic adventure that finds her wrapped in bits of spandex and as taut as burped Tupperware.
She matches wits with costar Michael Caine in this jaded look at love and money from the disenchanted writer-director Jerry Belson. Field is assembly-line artist Daisy Morgan, a chirpy creature who stamps alpine villages onto motel art while counting the ticks of her biological clock. Caine is the misogynistic Sean Stein, a best-selling novelist who falls for dear Daisy despite his track record.
He is paying alimony and palimony when the movie begins. "Prostitution is the last form of honest sex," he grouses. "At least you pay the money up front." When a hooker steals his wallet and BMW, Sean chooses celibacy. Two years later he meets Daisy and her rich, obnoxious boyfriend Marty (Steve Guttenberg) at a posh museum fundraiser. Gun-toting party crashers strip and rob the guests, then tie men and women together in the nude. Sean is bound to Daisy from that moment on and pursues her, pretending to be a poor, unpublished author. Will she love him for himself? Or will she marry Marty for his money? Or what?
Belson, a TV comedy writer, bases this alternately sour and sappy scenario on his own experiences in and out of divorce court. His observations are so bitter, it's impossible to believe the hero's conversion -- previously, Sean wanted to move to Kuwait "because women can't vote, and you can flog them there." But Sean's not the only corrosive character. Julie Kavner, as Daisy's perpetually pregnant best friend, is heard to sneer, "For such an ugly act, sex can sometimes produce a beautiful thing."
This cast of crabs and curmudgeons contrasts mightily with La Field, who's up to her miniskirt in chirpiness. She's in the midlife Gidget mode here, with Caine as an aging Alfie. They're comfortable together, like a '50s sitcom couple, about as sexy as the Cleavers in the four-poster after a supper of meat loaf and peas. They're just a couple of Oscar winners paying the grocery bills.
Surrender, at area theaters, and is rated PG for adult content.