[box cover]

The Story of Us

As a director, Rob Reiner has built a career distinguished largely by his reluctance to repeat himself. Early on, he skipped across genres in style, from the mockumentary This is Spinal Tap to the family friendly The Princess Bride, the Woody Allen homage When Harry Met Sally, and the claustrophobic horror of Misery. Lately, though, he's settled nicely into a quiet routine of sucking. What must rank as certainly one of his very worst efforts is the lazy, maudlin marital drama The Story of Us. Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer star as a married couple on their last legs, feigning bliss only to fool their unfooled children. Talentless screenwriter Alan Zweibel (who also wrote Reiner's other most-awful film North) establishes nothing about the film's central characters other than they fight a lot and used to have good times. But both aspects are whisked through in a viewer's digest of sound bites and sad moments for the purpose of manipulating the maximum emotion without the effort of evoking empathy. About halfway through it becomes cynically apparent that the only reason you've stuck with it to that point is that both characters are played by attractive movie stars who are offering the spectacle of their very worst work to date. The writing is so lazy (and yet so aware that its antagonizing protagonists are so dull) that during one crucial scene when the couple tries to salvage their marriage the focus shifts to overbearing minor characters, and in another moment Willis flashes back to scenes he wasn't even present for (!). Thank God the movie is blissfully short, but in the company of two immature, self-centered, petty, and very possibly mentally retarded adults, even 93 minutes seems like a lifetime. Presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 . Includes commentary by Reiner, production notes, trailers, featurette, DVD-ROM content, and a parental lock so responsible guardians can protect their children from ghastly tripe. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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