I Love You to Death is a stillborn attempt at black comedy.

Opening credits stress tale is based on a true story, but John Kostmayer’s screenplay never makes events remotely interesting. Kevin Kline creates a stereotypical Italian restaurant owner who can’t help cheating with scores of women on his frumpish wife, Tracey Ullman. Awkward script has Ullman discovering Kline in a tryst at a library and, after brief consultation with her Yugoslav mom Joan Plowright, resolving to kill him.

Harold and Maude it ain’t. Film founders because the cast is out of control. Chief culprit is Hurt, as a hired space cadet hitman, who pulls faces embarrassingly here as a retarded hippie.

At the other extreme, the three British actresses are models of professionalism. Ullman unfortunately fades into the woodwork by steadfastly adopting a bland speech pattern and looking as homely as possible. Plowright is solid as her mom.

I Love You to Death

  • Production: Chestnut Hill. Director Lawrence Kasdan; Producer Jeffrey Lurie, Ron Moler, Patrick Wells,; Screenplay John Kostmayer; Camera Owen Roisman; Editor Anne V. Coates; Music James Horner; Art Director Lilly Kilvert
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1990. Running time: 96 MIN.
  • With: Kevin Kline Tracey Ullman Joan Plowright River Phoenix William Hurt Keanu Reeves