For the Boys (1991)

Genres - Comedy Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Drama, Period Film, War Drama  |   Release Date - Nov 22, 1991 (USA)  |   Run Time - 145 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

A terrific premise for an epic drama is sabotaged by too much focus on one character and the heavy emotional hand of director Mark Rydell. Much of the narrative success of For the Boys rests on its intriguing central idea of examining war through the eyes of entertainers sent overseas to amuse battle-weary troops. A strong screenplay idea is always a good start, but the film detours a few too many times into schmaltz territory with sequences that strain credibility. Even worse, the character portrayed by Midler comes on a little too strong given the era in which her character dwells for most of the story, while Caan isn't given quite enough to do, instead bowing to the presence of Midler. The realm of diva-dom is entered when Midler's character is depicted singing, dancing, and wowing the boys a tiresome number of times, sacrificing other interesting supporting characters and plot developments. For the Boys could have been a terrific and intelligent film were it not a showcase for the talents of Midler alone.