Bland one moment and barbed the next, Something to Talk About dithers on like compulsive conversationalists who take twice as long as necessary to say what they want to say. This star-driven comic take on the wages of infidelity displays much the same sisterly bonding against ratty men that marked Callie Khouri’s far superior script for Thelma & Louise.
An affluent young wife and mother, Grace (Julia Roberts) is frantic, scattered and absent-minded, the Southern version of neurotic. She’s quick to react when she spots her husband, Eddie (Dennis Quaid), making out on the street with a flashy blonde, confronting him in front of a crowded bar.
None of this sits well with her dad, Wyly King (Robert Duvall), the wealthy, authoritarian owner of the snooty King Farms horse-breeding spread, where he lives with his compliant wife, Georgia (Gena Rowlands), and saucy second daughter, Emma Rae (Kyra Sedgwick). While licking her wounds back home, the distraught Grace manages to stir up trouble all around.
Modest yarn takes an unmotivated detour into National Velvet territory in the second half. By the time the picture winds its way back to resolving Grace and Eddie’s domestic dilemma, it has nothing more original to say on the subject than that only time and a forgiving attitude can mend such wounds.
As a vehicle for Roberts, this is a mixed bag. Sedgwick easily steals the show in a part that jumps out like a pop-up card, and Duvall loads his glances and line readings with amusing doses of scorn and superiority. Quaid is rambunctious and credible enough as the unfaithful hubby.