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Edie & Pen

Edie (Tilly) and Pen (Stockard Channing) arrive in Reno for swift divorces -- the former after a two-week marriage years earlier to a man who flew the coop, and the latter after nine years with a cold businessman (Stuart Wilson) whose desire for her was quenched long ago. Emerging from the courtroom with divorce papers in hand, the pair hit a local bar and an unlikely friendship forms.

With:
Pen ... Stockard Channing Edie ... Jennifer Tilly Harry ... Scott Glenn

Edie (Tilly) and Pen (Stockard Channing) arrive in Reno for swift divorces — the former after a two-week marriage years earlier to a man who flew the coop, and the latter after nine years with a cold businessman (Stuart Wilson) whose desire for her was quenched long ago. Emerging from the courtroom with divorce papers in hand, the pair hit a local bar and an unlikely friendship forms.

They hook up with brokenhearted Harry (Scott Glenn), whose wife has dumped him, taking his beloved dog. During a long night of drunken carousing, the trio’s disappointments and dreams are revealed in lumpily didactic dialogue that labors to unearth larger truths about men’s deeds and women’s needs. But those truths never get much beyond banalities. While Edie prepares to be whisked away by her new man to an Acapulco wedding, emotionally bruised Pen wrestles with the attentions of confirmed womanizer Harry. Dramatic kinks, such as they are, come from the discovery that Edie’s husband-to-be is Pen’s ex.

As written, all three principal characters are on the unsatisfying side, but Tilly gets by on exuberance and daffy comic timing. Poured into a series of Betty Boop outfits, she plays a shapely bubblehead who’s been around the block a few times; the actress gives Edie enough endearing innocence to make believable the character’s hunger to be just a loving wife and mother. Channing and Glenn are unable to make their underwritten roles as interesting.

A troop of well-known faces — most of them reportedly Tennant’s friends and former co-stars — makes brief appearances, including Beverly D’Angelo as a blowzy bartender, Louise Fletcher as a magistrate and Randy Travis as a skirt-chasing C&W star. Best of them is Martin Mull, playing a chirpy divorce lawyer who hits on his newly single clients. Tennant herself sashays through several shots but has no dialogue.

Director Matthew Irmas (“When the Party’s Over”) fails to inject the energy to compensate for script’s lack of incident or depth and, despite exposure of Reno’s glitzy, neon-lit heart and its dust-bowl, edge-of-town areas, the picture has a rather flat visual stamp on it. Shawn Colvin’s bluesy, country-flavored songs provide a lift.

Popular on Variety

Edie & Pen

(Romantic comedy -- Color)

Production: An Emby Eye presentation of a 23rd Street production. (International sales: Pacific Shore Media, Los Angeles.) Produced by Matthew Irmas, Victoria Tennant. Co-producer, Suzy Vanderbeek. Directed by Matthew Irmas. Screenplay, Victoria Tennant.

Crew: Camera (color), Alicia Weber; editor, Michael Russo; music, Shawn Colvin; music supervisor, Robin Urdang; production design, Jon Gary Steele; costume design, Michelle Cole; sound (Dolby), Oliver L. Moss; assistant director, John Richard Glasser; casting, Bruce H. Newberg. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 10, 1996. Running time: 97 min.

With: Pen ... Stockard Channing Edie ... Jennifer Tilly Harry ... Scott GlennWith: Beverly D'Angelo, Louise Fletcher, Joanna Gleason, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Michael O'Keefe, Chris Sarandon, Randy Travis, Jean Smart, Stuart Wilson. Jennifer Tilly glows as a ditzy cupcake with a big heart in "Edie & Pen," but despite a strong cast, the wattage around her is decidedly low-amp. Thinly scripted by actress Victoria Tennant, who also co-produced, this affable but insubstantial romantic comedy fails to provide any emotional kick, and looks likely to be confined to a cable andvideo future. HBO will air the pic in the U.S. mid-July.

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