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'A New Life'

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
March 26, 1988


Alan Alda
Alan Alda;
Hal Linden;
Veronica Hamel;
John Shea;
Mary Kay Place;
Beatrice Alda
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent

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Quick, somebody cancel Alan Alda's subscription to Ms. The Schwarzenegger of sensitivity is at it again, razing our consciousness with "A New Life," the story of an insensitivo who turns into a giving guy.

Alda, who wrote and directed this romance for the "Donahue" set, plays Steve, an abrasive Wall Streeter whose restless wife Jackie (Ann-Margret) divorces him for workaholism (oh no, not again) and lack of foreplay. And next thing you know, they are starting over with much prettier partners.

After several bad dates, Jackie takes up with the handsome artist Doc (John Shea), an obsessively attentive younger man. "He doesn't interrupt me. He doesn't ignore me," she confides to her best friend (Mary Kay Place). But soon Jackie feels smothered and realizes that she really wants to be alone. Steve, on the other hand, finds that he really wants to be caring, that under that Brillo Pad perm is a snugglebunny gestating like a marshmallow alien. Thanks to the ministrations of heart surgeon Dr. Kay Hutton (Veronica Hamel), he learns about the New Intimacy of the '80s (or was that the '70s?). They marry, she becomes pregnant and he reverts. "This pregnancy is like sitting through 'Friday the 13th,' " he whines. "I don't want to see blood and pain and little arms and legs coming out of your body."

Whine though he might, we can see that Steve is Lamaze cum laude inside. In the end, he is not only on hand for the delivery, but cuts the umbilical cord. "A New Life" indeed.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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