Kathleen Turner can't resist those other dimensions. Now she's gone and fallen into another one in the peculiar Italian-made "Julia and Julia" -- in which the former Peggy Sue gets married again, this time to a debonair architect from Trieste. Then before you can say Rod Serling, she's time-tripping (or slipping her gears) in the Zoni di Twilightoni.
Here, Rod's spirit meets Italian neorealism as, for reasons beyond our comprehension, the heroine wobbles between two worlds. In the first, Julia is a widowed travel agent, still grieving for her husband Paolo (Gabriel Byrne), who was killed in a car crash during their honeymoon. "I am happy. I want to have a baby," she had just said.
Six years later, she drives through a tunnel of fog to a new dimension where her husband is alive and they have a 6-year-old son. Julia is ecstatic, though she has a difficult time chatting with best friends she has never met. Controlling the portal between the two planes is a Jekyll-and-Hyde photographer, Daniel, played enigmatically by Sting.
As the plot progresses, Julia shuttles willy-nilly between Door Number One and Door Number Two. One minute she's booking cruises, the next she's cheating on her husband -- an affair her "other self" had kindled -- with Daniel. When she tries to end it, the furious photographer rips off her underpants and rapes her behind a pillar in a busy piazza. Naturally, she just melts. Julia attempts to save her marriage in the other reality, and things take a nasty Gothic turn.
Apparently Turner did some pasta-packing -- she's all plumped up for a part that calls for topless romping with both Byrne (wasted as droopy Paolo) and Sting. The unstable Julia must have seemed like a juicy opportunity for Turner, who likes to test herself with diverse roles -- like the prostitute in "Crimes of Passion" or the hit woman in "Prizzi's Honor." But Julia is no snake-pit psycho from the outer limits. She's a portly matron who gets a little mixed up in a beautiful, nicely photographed setting.
Backed by an Italian television network, the feature is the first ever shot in "high-definition video," which means riper color and enlarged pores. Director Peter Del Monte and cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, both students of Roberto Rossellini, create an authentic ambiance with marble busts and lots of plaster dust. We don't get goose bumps, we feel as if we have to sneeze and can't.
Julia and Julia, at area theaters, is rated R for sexual situations.