As one of the unsung treasures of 1970s American cinema, this acerbic, by-the-throat romantic comedy fell through the cracks of video distribution for decades after its initial release despite a brief theatrical reissue in 1985. It's a funny-sad movie about Gig "Giggy" Pinimba and Pandora "Panda" Gold (real-life husband and wife Joe Bologna and Renée Taylor, who also co-scripted) two losers who meet in an encounter group and gravitate to one another as permanent soul mates and best friends -- falling in love even as they persist in driving each other crazy. Panda and Giggy may or may not have been born to be together, but their respective childhoods from hell clearly molded them to go hand-in-glove.
This ethnic comedy is at times obscenely loud, but bear with it -- it carries a rare level of insight and wisdom about relationships that makes it very special. As scenarists, Taylor and Bologna score points for being courageous. From scene to scene, they refuse to cow-tow to audience demands by creating traditionally "soft" or "acceptable" characters. No behavioral flaws are too grotesque to keep off-screen, or too sacred to escape usage as sources of humor. But if -- after about 20 minutes -- we feel certain that we've had enough of these folks, Taylor, Bologna, and director Robert B. Bean soon demonstrate compassion for the two main characters, enabling us to continually see past their issues and to genuinely care for them. This is a comedy, like Punch-Drunk Love and Modern Romance, probably best appreciated by viewers with a history of dysfunction -- the audience member who has weathered many intense and seemingly unproductive hours "on the couch." It pulls the preponderance of its humor from the off-center behavior onscreen, and succeeds triumphantly, largely because the two screenwriters tailor the screwy behavior to the background and perception of each character in the picture. There are also - especially in the group therapy sequences - hilarious lampoons of 70s trends in psychiatry and self-improvement. The supporting cast features a myriad of wonderful character actors, including Paul Sorvino, Olympia Dukakis, Louis Zorich, Peggy Pope, and Ron Carey. All are used to outstanding effect.