Swedish director Lasse Hallström's first American picture met with a generally tepid reception from audiences and critics, but it's worth another look in retrospect. Once Around is of a piece with the director's shaggy, gently satirical portraits of tightly knit families and the forces that threaten to break them apart. The plot -- vulnerable Renata Bella (Holly Hunter) takes up with a smarmy condo salesman (Richard Dreyfuss) who alienates the rest of her clan -- is the stuff of television melodrama, but Hallström seizes on the script's ethnic clashes and meandering dialogue to craft a messier, more authentic vision of a proud American family. Despite the two performers' conspicuous lack of chemistry in 1989's Always, here they complement each other well. The over-animated Dreyfuss is used to good effect, as his impulsive, eccentric outbursts are played for tension as opposed to punchlines; it becomes understandable that Hunter's slightly manic Renata would be smitten with him.