An edgy, shifty-eyed 50th birthday tribute for hero Harry Mackenzie gets this midlife-crisis film off to a risky, sentimental start, and from there on out it’s Ellen Burstyn, the abandoned wife, versus Gene Hackman, the not-unsympathetic-but-risk-taking husband, vying for audience affections.
Burstyn claims the film as Kate, who has to cope with her own life and family, and some rather mediocre lines. Hackman is stalwart and determined in his resolve to make a new life with Ann-Margret, but she is far too sexy and he far too underdeveloped for anybody to understand what she sees in him.
The pic is loaded with jock humor and incidental comments that allow the characters’ frustrations to seep out. Audiences will love Burstyn’s warm wrinkles and visit with her daughters to a male strip joint, as well as Hackman’s workmanlike heroism.
1985: Nomination: Best Supp. Actress (Amy Madigan)