This is a sexy, nuanced, beautifully controlled examination of how a quartet of people are defined by their erotic impulses and inhibitions.
Imaginatively presented opening intercuts the embarrassed therapy confessions of young wife Andie MacDowell with the impending arrival in town of James Spader, a mysterious stranger type who was a college chum of MacDowell’s handsome husband (Peter Gallagher).
Given MacDowell’s admissions that she and Gallagher are no longer having sex, it would seem that Spader is walking into a potentially provocative situation.
He drops a bombshell by revealing that he is impotent, seemingly scratching any developments on that end. Meanwhile Gallagher has been conducting a secret affair with his wife’s sexy wild sister (Laura San Giacomo).
Pic is absorbing and titillating because nearly every conversation is about sex and aspects of these attractive people’s relationships. Several steamy scenes between Gallagher and San Giacomo, and some extremely frank videotapes featuring women speaking about their sex lives, turn the temperature up even more.
Lensed on location in Baton Rouge, La, for $1.2 million, production looks splendid.
1989: Nomination: Best Original Screenplay