Terms of Endearment


A Paramount Pictures release, produced, directed and written by James L. Brooks, based on a novel by Larry McMutry. Co-producers, Penny Finkelman, Martin Jurow. Camera (Metrocolor), Andrzej Bartkowiak; editor, Richard Marks, sound, James Alexander; production design, Polly Platt; costumes, Kristi Zea; assistant director, Albert Shapiro; makeup, Ben Nye Jr., art direction, Harold Michelson, set design, Sandy Veneziano; music, Michael Gore. Reviewed at the Bruin Theater, L.A., Nov.16, 1983. (MPAA rating: (G.) Running time: 130 MINS.

Emma – Debra Winger
Aurora – Shirley MacLaine
Garrett – Jack Nicholson
Flap – Jeff Daniels
Sam – John Lithgow
Teddy – Huckleberry Fox
Tommy – Troy Bishop
Vernon – Danny DeVito
Patsy – LisaHart Carroll
Rosie -Betty R. King
Edward – Norman Bennett
Janet – Kate Charleson

Teaming of Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson at their best makes “Terms of Endearment” an enormously enjoyable offering for Christmas, adding bite and sparkle when sentiment and seamlessness threatens to sink other parts of the picture.

It’s a double pleasure to see Nicholson back in just the kind of role that catapulted him to stardom, playing a devilish, boozing astronaut who lives next door to MacLaine who has overlayed her libido with too many years of stifled feelings for everyone.

As writer and director, James L. Brooks has not made too clear what “Terms” is supposed to be about and, most of the time, it seems to be about too much, setting up situations and then skipping out of them as it tries compress 30 years of a family relationship.

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