You Can't Hurry Love (1988)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Release Date - Jan 29, 1988 (USA)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

For an era so ripe for social satire, the late '80s sure generated some weak attempts at the comedy of manners. A spiritual cousin to the similarly dreadful Casual Sex?, but without the thin coating of pseudo-feminism, You Can't Hurry Love attempts to dissect the cultural crossroads of an L.A. video dating service, but it resorts to romantic comedy clich├ęs to do so. Even worse, the jokes fall into two distinct but equally unrewarding types: those that marvel at the sheer wackiness of the decade and those that take exception to its utter soullessness. The former type includes a character who dresses like, and calls herself, Madonna; Kristy McNichol in the role of a performance artist with a Cher glitter wig and ulterior motives; and leading man David Packer adopting a series of "whoa, dude" guises for the seemingly endless string of singles ads he films for himself. So far, so unfunny, but the really groan-inducing moments are those that try to graft actual substance onto the plastic. Thus we get closeted gays, disingenuous daters, backstabbing middle managers, and a vague message of "be yourself." Stars as varied as Sally Kellerman and Charles Grodin suffer through thankless cameos, while Bridget Fonda, in an early role, finds little to clutch at as she hangs over the abyss of anonymous, girlish charm. As unlikely as it seems, producers gave director Richard Martini two more chances behind the camera in the decade that followed; audiences were smarter, relegating Limit Up and Cannes Man to the same cable-and-video purgatory as this film.