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Prelude to a Kiss Review

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At a happy couple's wedding day an mysterious old man turns up and gives the bride a kiss. At that moment the two magically swap bodies, with the bride going on to live with the old man's daughter and the man now sharing the couple's apartment with the confused husband.

★★★★

Following the success of their debut Longtime Companion — the impressive ensemble piece chronicling the impact of AIDS on the New York gay community through the 80s — the director and writer team of Norman Rene and Craig Lucas have adapted their Broadway play Prelude To A Kiss, retaining a then-unknown Alec Baldwin as the male lead.

The result starts as a straight (in both senses) romantic comedy as Peter (Baldwin) falls for Rita (Ryan), moving in with and eventually marrying her. At the wedding, about halfway through the film, there's a dramatic shift as a doddery old man (veteran stage actor Walker) kisses the bride and swaps bodies with her. On honeymoon, Peter finds his wife quite literally no longer the woman he married, while Rita, incarcerated in the old man's body, is living with his daughter (Bates) and her husband. The old man (in Rita's body) leaves Peter to go to "her" mother's, and Rita (in the old man's body) moves in with Peter for a loving but non-physical relationship.

Far more intelligent than the late 80s slew of age/body exchange movies, this also boasts two terrific performances from Meg Ryan as an offbeat, insomniac romantic and later as an old man suddenly finding himself living in a young and healthy woman's body. But veteran stage actor Walker's portrayal of the old man is memorable and although rare, Baldwin is perfectly cast.

With a slew of body swap films in the late 80's it was expected that this would be another one to fall by the way. Except with a promising script by newcomers Rene and Craig and strong performances from Ryan, Baldwin and Walker, it manages to be more memorable than most.

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