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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Time Out

Plot Overview


loversdesk manpoolside familyWhen studio head Dave Kingman (Stanley Tucci) sees his cash cow drying up with the breakup of his America's Sweet­hearts Eddie Thomas (John Cusack) and Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta-Jones,) he has his publicist Lee Phillips (Billy Crystal) bring them together for a media junket at an isolated Hyatt resort in the Nevada desert. Arriving by helicopter comes avant-garde director Hal Weidmann (Christopher Walken) to unveil a film verité of their latest release “Time Over Time,” which tells all.

Marriage Counseling

boasting speechThe proximate cause of the couple's breakup was Gwen's fling (“Sometimes a girl just needs to get laid”) with Latin actor Hector Gor­gon­zolas (Hank Azaria) of an un-note­worthy penis size. According to her, “He can go for hours. I just wish he had a bigger, you know … thingy.” Hector protests to the gathered media, “I am extremely well hung. I will submit to a physical inspection right now.” Of course, that's not gonna happen. It's similar to an incident in a Joseph Schuster novel:

Then, after four months of being married, Melissa came to him to say it had been a mistake and besides she had discovered she was in love with her late husband's brother. “His spirit is in there,” she had said wist­fully when she left— (214)

There was no way to verify her late husband's ghost was “in there,” so she could be given a free pass. Hollywood loves to portray irresistible lust, so the mythical stamina was a ready excuse.

boy and girlEddie had his own excuse for his dalliance at the junket, along the lines of some­thing in a Vu Tran novel:

My parents came to mind, all those years of them openly resenting each other for reasons never explained to me. My father died when I was six­teen, two years after he abandoned my mother for an identical woman: same age and height, same dark curly hair, same every­thing except she wasn't my mother. When he was dying in the hospital and the cancer had muted his once sonorous voice, I asked him why he left her, and he said that love just dies some­times, and when it does, you can't save it any­more than you can revive a corpse. (76)

According to Hollywood lore, love sometimes just dies on the vine, and when that happens, all bets are off. Look for a Hollywood resolution.


Hollywood has a successful track record with the rom-coms; they're a lot of innocent fun. The adulteries—and worse—in this one, though, tank the innocence, which they get around by ignoring its seediness. (Prov. 30:20) “Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.” It's just a matter of cleaning up the messes created, morality be damned. For perspective there's the over­turned table in a restaurant and flung breakfast eggs in the kitchen. Moral issues are only covered by Larry King calling Gwen a “bad person”—typical tirade from a talking head—and Eddie's wellness guru (Alan Arkin) telling him, “Life is a cookie.” Since cookies are baked in batches, it's presumed there are more where that one came from, meaning in guru-speak everybody does it.

It's up for grabs how this romantic escapade will turn out, but that's nothing new. (Prov. 30:18-19) “There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.” The writer of this proverb juxtaposed three hard-to-track movements with romantic intrigues: a soaring eagle, a slithering snake, and a tossed-about ship. AS employs images from commen­surate venues to prepare the viewer for unanticipated love machinations. For “the way of an eagle in the air” is substituted Eddie “Peeping” Thomas's climb on & fall from a decorative wall surrounding his love's cottage, which security filmed as his doing “something not good.”

“The way of a serpent upon a rock” corresponds to Eddie slipping and sliding on the roof tiles. Is he suicidal or what?

chauffeur“The way of a ship in the midst of the sea” is substituted for by a convoy of two limos in the desert, stopping for a “Who's On First” debate over which star will arrive first.

Production Values

” (2001) was directed by Joe Roth. The screenplay was written by Billy Crystal and Peter Tolan. It stars Julia Roberts, John Cusack and Billy Crystal. Also featured are Stanley Tucci as Dave Kingman, Alan Arkin as Wellness Guide, Seth Green as Danny Wax, Catherine Zeta Jones as a desperate fading star, Hank Azaria as her new lover, and Larry King as himself. The cast is outstanding, although it's hard to focus on any one of them for the lead, they're all familiar faces.

puppy dogeye trimapplying makeupJulia Roberts has a before-and-after appearance as Gwen's sister & assistant Kathleen “Kiki” Harrison. She looked (and acted) softer when she was sixty pounds heavier. Gwen's Doberman pinscher treated Lee Phillips like its love-toy but the dog didn't bare its fangs or flex its throat when it growled. Roberts, how­ever, displayed a lot of teeth when­ever she threw a hissy fit. Quite a mouth on that girl.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for language and some crude & sexual humor. There's a bathtub scene they cut to preserve the rating, but it appears in the Deleted Scenes. The music is flawless, the direction decent, the cinema­tog­raphy resounding, and the dialogue witty enough. Runtime is 1¾ hours.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I think the humor suffered for lack of true innocence, but it might appeal to another's tastes for that very reason. I'd call it a nice try but no cigar. A stack of stars didn't bring it over the top.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Schuster, Joseph M. The Might Have Been. Copy­right © 2012 by Joseph M. Schuster. New York: Ballantine Books, 2012. Print.

Tran, Vu. Dragonfish. Copyright © 2015 by Vu Tran. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2015. Print.