Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
I have heard a great deal about how fine, how fetching and captivating Pauline Collins is in the one-woman stage version of "Shirley Valentine." I haven't seen the play, but I have a feeling the reports may be right; this is the kind of story that might work as a tour-de-force, with one actor populating the stage with her imagination, as Collins is said to do.
Unfortunately, the film of "Shirley Valentine" takes a completely different approach by "opening up" the story into a realistic drama of appalling banality. There were moments during the movie when I cringed at the manipulative dialogue as the heroine recited warmed-over philosophy and inane one-liners when she should have been allowed to speak for herself.
The story involves one Shirley Valentine, British provincial housewife and lonely soul who spends a great deal of time talking to her kitchen walls and other inanimate objects. She is meant to be plucky and brave in her monologues, but since she often includes us in her solitude by talking directly to the camera, I had trouble believing she was all that desperate. Shirley's husband is a kind but remote figure; her marriage is cheerless; she feels life slipping from her grasp.
Then one day an old girlfriend wins a trip for two to Greece, and asks Shirley to come along. This is a bigger dare than she has accepted for years, and she is sure her husband will never approve, but finally she flies off to Greece, because just once in her life (if I remember correctly) she wants to see the sun set over a foreign sea. Or words to that effect. Many of the sentiments in this film seem recycled directly from greeting cards.