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Prelude to a Kiss

For those who want a dose of romance between super-attractive actors and actresses with superb hair and perfect teeth in a Manhattan context with all the cute meetings and bars and music and weddings and jerking of tears that such movies sponsor, then Prelude to a Kiss may be to one's liking. For most everyone else, the film will be a dose of crap. Based on a play by Craig Lucas that starred Alec Baldwin, this 1992 film adaptation (directed by Norman René) is about Peter (Baldwin, recreating his stage role) and Rita (Meg Ryan), a newly married couple. They had a whirlwind romance, but at their wedding an aged stranger (Sidney Walker) approaches Rita and asks for a kiss; in that moment they "exchange souls," and the rest of the movie attempts to evoke comic and poignant fodder from this odd situation. With its inexplicable transfer-of-souls premise, Prelude to a Kiss also anticipated some of the fate and identity-questioning films of the late '90s such as Me Myself I and others. It's one of those weird films in which you get the impression that something else is going on, but you just aren't in on it. It's also essentially anti-woman, in that it is a given that Rita is a childish person, and an early (if failed) example of the gay agenda, a series of movies that subtly advocate the gay lifestyle as more stable and superior to heterosexual unions. Thus, Prelude is really about the kiss between Baldwin and Walker, and it wants to say that love is love and it doesn't matter what the gender of those involved happens to be. Fox's DVD release offers a fine anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1), with audio in an indifferent Dolby Digital 4.0 mix, with Dolby 2.0 Surround in English and French. Supplements include the theatrical trailer and trailers for five other romance-themed Fox films. The static menu comes with 20-chapter scene-selection. Keep-case.
—D.K. Holm



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