That Old Feeling

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Lilly and Dan, an aging screen star and a bitter, but successful novelist, have been divorced for 12 years and are reunited at their daughter's wedding, only to run off together, ditching their current spouses and causing such controversy it may mar their new son-in-law's political chances.


Comedy veteran (and father of Rob) Carl Reiner hasn't directed a really funny film since his work with Steve Martin. So compared to the likes of Sibling Rivalry, this likeable caper is almost a masterpiece.

Midler and Farina play Lilly and Dan, a couple who divorced 12 years previously: Lilly is an ageing screen star; Dan is a successful but bitter novelist. When their straight-laced daughter Molly (Marshall, who couldn't possibly have sprung from these people's loins) marries a WASP princeling (Jamie Denton) running for political office, the feuding parents are reunited at the wedding. And as feared, behave as embarrassingly as possible.

Worse is to come, though, as the old flame is reignited and the twosome run away together mid-reception, propelling their current spouses with the bride and groom on a search made desperate by fear of tabloids sullying the newlywed's election campaign.

Midler, of course, is a dab hand at being raucous or overemotional and the script was tailor-made for her by Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire), so she's huge fun with Farina on their spree. Less winning is the predictable comedic journey of discovery taken by Molly and her bickering partnership on the hunt with the unsavoury paparazzo (Danny Nucci). Curiously the best universal gag in the film comes at the beginning and is identical to an early scene of Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You. Did Reiner and Allen share this one in their days as joke writers for Sid Caesar?

This is a girlie movie if ever there was one, but Midler fans of any chromosome combo will relish her way with an insult: "You were faithful like a Kennedy's faithful!"

If you're a Midler fan you'll love this. It is funny, but rather predictable.