Review: ‘Hello Again’

Viewers are advised to be wary of any romantic comedy in which the ultimate resolution (and very life of the protagonist) depends on the answer to the question, 'Are you really ready for me to bring the rubber bone?' That's where this runaway plotline leads to, though, as Shelley Long wanders through a script she can't carry by herself while heading a cast handled with less than a Midas touch by director Frank Perry, who seems to think he's staging a high school play.

Viewers are advised to be wary of any romantic comedy in which the ultimate resolution (and very life of the protagonist) depends on the answer to the question, ‘Are you really ready for me to bring the rubber bone?’ That’s where this runaway plotline leads to, though, as Shelley Long wanders through a script she can’t carry by herself while heading a cast handled with less than a Midas touch by director Frank Perry, who seems to think he’s staging a high school play.

Long plays Lucy Chadman, the dull and thoroughly domesticated housewife of Corbin Bernsen’s yup-scale Long Island plastic surgeon Jason Chadman. She chokes to death on a chicken ball while in the occultist boutique of her off-the-wall, down-the-hall sister Zelda (Judith Ivey).

After much hocus-pocus, Zelda brings Lucy back from her grave a year to the day after her death. The most predictable thing that could happen does, and Lucy walks in on her husband with her gold-digging, glory-grabbing girlfriend Kim (played with nice salaciousness by Sela Ward, before the script forces her to go out of her character in stupidity).

Scene in which Lucy discovers the lovers is actually funny, but it should have operated as a starting point for some human comedy. Instead it’s a jumping off point, into an abyss of silly plot developments. While all of this is going on, Long is expected to provide cohesion by drawing a zany, goofball character who is lovable in her imperfection.

Hello Again

Production

Touchstone. Dir Frank Perry; Producer Frank Perry; Screenplay Susan Isaacs; Camera Jan Weincke; Editor Peter C. Frank, Trudy Ship; Music William Goldstein Art Dir Edward Pisoni

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Shelley Long Judith Ivey Gabriel Byrne Corbin Bernsen Sela Ward Austin Pendleton

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