A fabulously textured comedy that centers on how sensitive guy Frank (Craig Sheffer) deals with buddy Joe’s (Eric Stoltz) marriage to Frank’s secret true love, Sarah (Meg Tilly). Director Rory Kelly divvied up the screenplay of Sleep With Me into six chunks, to six different screenwriters (including himself), and as a result it’s the social whorl of characters around the tense triangle that sings: Dean Cameron’s testy paraplegic, Todd Field’s laconic screenwriter, and Thomas Gibson’s amused Brit are particularly memorable, plus there are fiery bits performances by Quentin Tarantino, Parker Posey, Joey Lauren Adams, June Lockhart, Susan Traylor, and Adrienne Shelly. Criminally overlooked.
Forget the nearly unbearable remake. Newlyweds Lenny (the peerlessly dry Charles Grodin) and Lila (the counteractively brash Jeannie Berlin) are honeymooning in Miami when Lenny meets blonde shiksa goddess Cybill Shepherd and decides that she’s the one he can’t live without. Director Elaine May keeps the farce in The Heartbreak Kid so deadpan it becomes chilling.
One of the first adaptations of a Neil Simon play, this dated bonbon features exuberant drama queen Jane Fonda and staid pragmatist Robert Redford as fresh-faced newlyweds who can’t keep their hands off each other (goosing bottoms in elevators, hanging ”do not disturb” signs on hotel doorknobs for days on end, and so on). But the honeymoon ends, and the comedy ostensibly begins, when they move into a tiny, five-flight Manhattan walk-up (which is refreshingly—and realistically—tiny compared to the bountiful dwellings shown in Friends and Seinfeld). Barefoot in the Park has no other relation at all to reality, but it’s cute as a button.
Alfred Hitchcock’s unassailable Gothic classic is merely the first of his many biopsies on marriage and the secret poisoning within them. Filled with superb set pieces and supporting performances, it all boils down to Joan Fontaine’s nameless heroine, nervously thrust into both an aristocratic milieu and an uncommunicative union she has no business occupying. Reportedly, Hitchcock (with the help of costar Laurence Olivier) subtly abused Fontaine on the set of Rebecca, a ploy that not only made her performance realer than real, but made the entire film, inside and out, a working metaphor for a dysfunctional marriage.