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Only The Lonely Review

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A Chicago cop must balance loyalty to his overbearing mother and a relationship with a shy funeral home worker.

★★★★★

This low-key comic variation on Marty - Paddy Chayevsky's Oscar-winning drama of a homely man who at last finds love - pits John Candy as a lovelorn cop against venerable tempestuous colleen Maureen O'Hara (in her first film for 20 years) as his possessive mother when the lonely slob falls for Ally Sheedy's mousy mortician.

A John Hughes production, written this time by Home Alone director Columbus, it's all pleasant enough and cosily familiar, from its Irish-American Chicago setting to the buddy routines between Candy and patrol car partner Jim Belushi, yea even unto the brief appearance of Macaulay Culkin as a Candy nephew. And there are some amusing touches: Sheedy's film fan Theresa makes up her corpses to look like movie star doubles; Candy's Danny daydreams of fantastic catastrophes befalling Ma, and Anthony Quinn's wily Greek neighbour pitches woo at the old bag with the zest befitting Zorba the Geriatric.

It's thin stuff, all the same, with the bigoted, bigmouthed, demanding Ma and a male chorus that includes Danny's selfish brother, his partner and barfly Milo O'Shea all predictably derisive of drab Theresa's claims on Danny's heart. Sheedy, for her part, effects her transformation from stammering weirdo to glowing woman in lurve wanting only for a pair of spectacles she could remove in order to make the cliche complete.

By the time everyone's done their darnedest to undermine this romance and the tirelessly selfless St. Danny has begun to contemplate cutting the apron strings, they've all nearly worn out their welcome. It's simple, sweet and uninspired.