[box cover]

Nadine

With her marriage coming to an end, Nadine Hightower (Kim Basinger) wants to get hold of some "artistic" photos she took on the hopes of getting into Playboy magazine. But when she goes to photographer Raymond Escobar's (Jerry Stiller) studio, the grumpy old coot winds up murdered with a knife in his back before he can give them to her. Desperate to get ahold of the pictures, Nadine enlists the help of her soon-to-be ex-husband, Vernon (Jeff Bridges), a dreamer who owns a run-down bar and can barely keep a roof over his head. However, when they return to the studio, the pair grab a file called "Nadine," which is not nudie picks but the State of Texas's secret blueprints for a new freeway. It's valuable information, worth untold riches for anybody savvy enough to scoop up some cheap land nearby, and that's what puts the Nadine and Vernon in the crosshairs of Buford Pope (Rip Torn), who would kill for that information, and already has. But with the prospect of a huge payday, the two team together while Buford sets his men out to find them. Nadine also has a secret she hasn't told Vernon, yet: She's pregnant. Writer-Director Robert Benton has had an odd career, working as an editor for Esquire, his big break came when he (with David Newman) wrote the screenplay for 1967's Bonnie and Clyde. This led to more scripts and a shot at directing in 1972 with the western Bad Company. Though he still works on screenplays (like 1978's Superman and most recently 2005's Ice Harvest) Benton won two Oscars for writing and directing 1979's Kramer vs. Kramer, and a third for his screenplay for 1984's Places in the Heart. Yet for such a successful career, his filmography is filled with long pauses (he's directed 10 films over the last 33 years), and he's jumped from genre to genre. 1987's Nadine is notable for being a screwball comedy, and — for a film that's dropped off the radar — it's a charming entertainment, notable for a very sharp third act. Basinger and Bridges have a great chemistry together (they later re-teamed as a broken up couple in 2004's Door in the Floor), and as the situation escalates, Benton stages some wonderful cat-and-mouse sequences with the right amount of danger and humor. It's a very modest picture, and noticeably brief (running a scant 82 minutes), but engaging as long as it plays. Sony/Columbia TriStar presents Nadine in a good anamorphic transfer (1.78:1) and Dolby 2.0 Stereo audio. Bonus trailers, keep-case.
—DSH



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