Moonstruck

"Good"

Moonstruck Review


A good romantic comedy should be a balm for the soul. Moonstruck doesn't provide that. It's quaint and amusing and full of good performances. It's the kind of movie you can watch with your grandmother and enjoy. The movie is not without its charms. Too bad it doesn't just whisk you into a world of wonder -- it tries to keep you prisoner.

Moonstruck tells the story of Loretta (Cher, in her Academy Award-winning performance), a thirtysomething Brooklyn widow, who is apparently happy in her humdrum life. She lives with her parents, goes to work, and looks for nothing more. Life becomes too difficult when extremes enter the picture. Her fiancé, Johnny (Danny Aiello), fits her life model to a T, a supremely ordinary man in every way, including romance. Loretta has to practically walk him through his proposal, and she always kisses him first. For Loretta, that's fine. She loved her last husband and that caused her nothing but heartache. "When you love them, they drive you crazy," her mother explains.

Loretta soon finds this out firsthand, when Johnny -- visiting his mother in Italy -- asks her to invite his long-estranged brother, Ronnie (Nicolas Cage), to the wedding. Ronnie is everything his older brother isn't -- younger, sinewy, and brimming with passion. He's barely met Loretta when he exclaims his hatred for his sibling and reveals his own plans: "I want you to watch me kill myself, so you can tell my brother on his wedding day." What woman can say no to that?

Well, Loretta can't, who is drawn to Ronnie's passion and complex nature (he's a brute who loves opera). John Patrick Shanley's Oscar-winning script uses the Loretta/Ronnie plot as just one look at the crazy dynamics of love, with Loretta's family offering other viewpoints. Her father (Vincent Gardenia) starts an affair with a woman who looks like a cocktail waitress in a feeble attempt to stop the clock, while her mother's (Olympia Dukakis) dinner date with a washed-up professor (John Mahoney) serves as a poignant reminder of how pursuing youth and beauty has its limitations.

Shanley's script conveys those messages well enough, but the proceedings are oh so hokey. Mahoney and Aiello give the best performances, and it's because we recognize our feeble, misguided selves in their romantic attempts. Every other character gets their fair share of speeches and starry-eyed moments to the point where we don't recognize the people behind the moon glow. They are swept up in romance in opera houses and charming Brooklyn neighborhoods I'm not sure ever existed.

The problems of the main characters ring true. Who doesn't know someone like Loretta who tries to balance romance and practicality like a determined chemist? And Shanley's attempt to meld Old World romance with real world sensibilities is a great idea, though the result ultimately reeks too much of concept. The parade of Italian merchants and bickerers eventually resembles something out of a sitcom or, worse, an Olive Garden commercial. Shanley spends so much time reminding us what a quaint and cute little movie we're watching that our interest isn't required. The neighborhoods will be gorgeous. Loretta will find that getting a makeover is a wonderful catalyst for love. We're watching a romantic comedy. We get it. The DVD should come with a coupon for Ben & Jerry's and a plastic spoon. Sorry, scratch that. Make it a cannoli.



Moonstruck

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th January 1988

Box Office Worldwide: $80.6M

Distributed by: MGM Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 46 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Loretta Castorini, as Ronny Cammareri, as Cosmo Castorini, as Rose Castorini, as John Cammareri, as Rita Cappomaggi, as Perry, Louis Guss as Raymond Capomaggi, Feodor Chaliapin Jr. as Alter Mann, as Mona, Nada Despotovich as Chrissy, Cynthia Dale as Sheila

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.