The Marrying Man (1990)

Genres - Comedy, Crime, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Comedy, Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - Apr 5, 1991 (USA)  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Much as the cinematic classic Two Much did for Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, The Marrying Man meant a lot more for its two leads than for any audiences or film historians. Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger married as a result of their on-set hanky-panky, and their undeniable chemistry keeps the film rolling during battle-of-the-sexes scenes that would otherwise be pretty standard issue. An appealing cast and the words of Neil Simon take The Marrying Man surprisingly far, but it's really only memorable, per se, as the film that launched a Hollywood power couple. In fact, it's almost as though Baldwin and Basinger are playing iconic versions of their actual selves -- Baldwin a rich playboy oozing false sincerity, Basinger a sex symbol progressing further on the strength of her looks than her talents. That may be a dismissive outlook on the two stars, but let it be said that they both inhabit their roles with an infectious sense of self-deprecating fun, while Paul Reiser, as the narrator and friend to Baldwin's Charley Pearl, gets to deliver some memorable Simon zingers. But what prevents The Marrying Man from exceeding the status of tiresome farce is that its leads, while entertaining, are never really likeable. Protagonists are sympathetic because they fight injustices that are beyond their control, but these two increasingly insufferable narcissists are constantly making their own trouble. Charley's behavior toward his fiancée (Elisabeth Shue) is particularly callous. Even the head-in-the-clouds jokesters who surround them see them as foolish and self-destructive, so it's no surprise that their act wears thin with the audience -- especially after nearly two hours of running time.