Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cousins (1989): 8.0

Cousins (1989)
Grade: 8.0

What a pleasant surprise this was. A romance film starring Ted Danson and Isabella Rossellini? How could this work? The back of the film suggested that the film was about two people who are now cousins through a marriage within the two families and their spouses that cheat on the two main characters with the other person. This is true but the back also says that the two main characters deliberately pretend that they are having an affair to get back at their spouses and that hilarity ensues. This is totally false. The y never do this. Only in one scene do they pretend this. The film is actually a dramedy about these two characters and their special friendship through the circumstances in which they meet. As they develop their friendship they acknowledge that they love each other but they do not want to act on it because of the consequences. There is much more to the film other than this. First of all, the spouses of both Ted Danson and Isabella Rossellini played by Sean Young and William Petersen, get their own stories as well. They are not evil people. Well, William Petersen basically is but even he is not completely one note in this film. We get a subplot involving Danson’s son and father. There is a lot to be had here.

I seriously completely and utterly enjoyed this film. I thought that the chemistry between Danson and Rossellini was fantastic as well as both of their performances. My favorite thing about the film is the care and time that was put into their friendship and subsequent relationship. There are so many couples in films are hopefully to be couples that I could not care less about because the time and care put into them is so minimal and unoriginal and the actors often have little chemistry. Cousins got me completely invested in these two characters. In fact whenever I remake my Couples list, Maria and Larry are going on it. And quite high. They were adorable and unique. And I read that one person called it refreshing because it was a relationship focused on love and not sex and it is so true. These two have a mental and personal connection much before a physical one and this helps the movie greatly. I absolutely love these two characters and their relationship and I loved the amount of time that was spent on Young and Petersen’s character as well. Between the plots involving Danson’s son and grandfather (played by Lloyd Bridges and Keith Coogan) we get a well rounded look at relationships between generations as well.

The movie is not perfect. The big flaw is that I did not feel like we got a good enough look at the normality between the two couples before everything between Danson and Rossellini gets started. I think this would have helped us understand the original couple dynamics a bit more outside of the really basic on the surface information. Other than that, I loved the pacing, the acting and the characters. I loved this movie. I think it is so underrated and I cannot believe I am saying that about a Joel Schumacher film.

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