Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
They say that if a thing's worth doing at all, it's worth doing badly. I doubt if that applies to "Loving Couples," a dumb remake of a very old idea that has been done so much better so many times before, that this version is wretchedly unnecessary.
The movie's premise: Shirley MacLaine and James Coburn, both doctors, are married to each other. After they have an argument, MacLaine treats a young man (Stephen Collins) who comes to her after an, accident. They begin to have an affair. Collins' girlfriend (Susan Sarandon) complains to Coburn. One thing leads to another, and they have an affair. Both couples go off to Acapulco for a weekend, run into each other, and everything hits the fan.
The notion of playing musical chairs with two sets of romantic partners is not new. Noel Coward did it with great wit in "Private Lives." Paul Mazursky did it with sociological fun and games in "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice." Now "Loving Couples" does it as dreck.
It is some kind of measure of this movie that it could involve simultaneous adulteries, yet qualify for the PG rating. It is a very timid televisionized movie. Even if it hadn't been financed by Time-Life Productions, a close kin of Home Box Office, I'd still suspect that it's basically destined for pay-TV, and that this theatrical release is just a ploy to make some quick bucks and legitimatize it as a "real movie" before it hits the cables.