[box cover]

Nothing in Common

Before Tom Hanks grew into his current role as stoic boy-toy of the Academy Awards, audiences who knew him best from his appealing TV career on Bosom Buddies and as a goofy leading man in Splash and several far less impressive comedies during the 1980s, had little forewarning of the maudlin self-importance that would earn the actor two successive Best Actor Oscars for Forrest Gump and Philadelphia 10 years later. Hanks did, however, make an early excursion into more precious material in 1986's Nothing in Common. In the type of role more often associated with Tom Cruise, Hanks plays David Basner, a hotshot, self-obsessed, career-driven ad agency whiz whose fast track to success is suddenly thrown off course when his aging parents split up. Distanced by his ambitions, David becomes reacquainted with his nervous mother (Eva Marie Saint) and his randy, cantankerous dad (Jackie Gleason), and suddenly finds himself in the untenable position of landing a major new account while serving as an emotional landfill for two needy parents. Directed by Garry Marshall, Nothing in Common is swathed in mediocrity, bland and unimaginative from its meandering and trite — albeit thankfully restrained — screenplay to its purely 1980s soundtrack (featuring undisinguished B-sides from the likes of Christopher Cross and Carly Simon). The saving grace of this film is its terrific casting. Gleason, in his last role, is outstanding in his balance of pig-headed obstinance and helpless fragility, and it is a blessing that his final bow displays his diverse talents in ways his previous feature (Smokey and the Bandit III) did not. Saint is also fine, still shimmering with the same angelic appeal that made her a star in 1954's On the Waterfront. Hanks holds the whole endeavor together nicely, shining under comedic demands but also showing his capabilities as a serious actor despite his appetite for goopy material. Marshall regular Hector Elizondo is also very good as Hanks' boss, as is Bess Armstrong as Hanks' exasperated confidant. Columbia TriStar's Nothing in Common DVD offers both anamorphic (1.85:1) and full-frame transfers that are dim and lack an expected brightness, while audio is in monaural Dolby Digital 2.0. Trailer, keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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