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Man Trouble Review

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★★★★★

Joan (Barkin) is a highly-strung concert singer whose nerves are a-jangle because her love life's a mess, her apartment's been trashed and she's getting mysterious, threatening phone calls.

Enter Harry (Nicholson), a slob-bish, penny-ante guard-dog trainer, with randy Alsatian Duke in tow. No sooner are the dog handling antics introduced than Joan goes all drunk and gooey over Harry in the space of one saki-soaked dinner. It is beyond even Jack Nicholson to provide any consistency of tone or sense to a film that has at least four plots fighting to be satisfactorily developed.

There's the lurve story, of course, and the mystery of Joan's anonymous menace. Then there is Joan's flashy sexpot sister (D'Angelo), abducted by her corrupt tycoon ex-lover (Stanton) to stop publication of her kiss-and-tell-all expose. And then - yawn - there's an apparently separate serial killer running around the area slashing up women . . .

Nicholson is as reliably watchable as ever, but is unable to find anything inspired in Carole Eastman's unbelievably unfunny script, while the hapless Barkin is hopelessly at sea as a pathetic squealing pancake.

Twenty years previous to the release of Man Trouble, this writer, director and star team produced the infinitely superior Five Easy Pieces, it's all the more disappointing that they should have reunited for what can fittingly be described as a dog's dinner.

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