I DON'T BUY KISSES ANYMORE is a tissue-thin but sweet little romantic comedy.
Philadelphia shoe salesman Bernie Fishbine (Jason Alexander), a personable, lonely bachelor, still lives at home with his overbearing mother Sarah (Lainie Kazan) and grandfather (Lou Jacobi). Bernie's only real flaw is his obesity, which isn't helped by his daily visits to his friend Frieda's
(Eileen Brennan) candy store, where he typically buys a half dozen chocolate kisses. One night on the bus he meets Theresa Garabaldi (Nia Peeples), a beautiful graduate student who moonlights as a singer at her uncle's Italian restaurant. Bernie is instantly smitten and tries to trim his waistline
by dieting and working out at Theresa's gym, and while they become tentative friends, the romance is strictly one-sided; Theresa is secretly using Bernie as the subject of her graduate thesis "The Psychological Study of an Obese Male."
On the verge of proposing marriage, Bernie accidentally discovers the paper and broken-heartedly heads for a solo vacation in Mexico. Back home, Bernie mopingly resumes his old habits. Taking matters into their own hands, Sarah and Gramps meet at the restaurant with Theresa, who's finding she
misses Bernie more than she thought she would and, in effect, propose marriage for Bernie, complete with the engagement ring. Theresa heads Bernie off at the candy store, and after he vents his anger, they seal their future together with a nonchocolate kiss.
The slender plot is well filled out by writer Jonnie Lindsell, but I DON'T BUY KISSES ANYMORE's chief drawback is the surprisingly uneven acting from its seasoned cast. Director Robert Marcarelli relies on too much unflattering, ethnically stereotypical hamming (also a flaw in Beeban Kidron's
otherwise engaging USED PEOPLE) to pass for character development. Kazan and Jacobi are especially guilty here, although they do provide the film's biggest laughs. At the opposite end of this scale, the underplaying young leads Alexander (WHITE PALACE, TV's "Seinfeld" and a Tony Award winner for
Jerome Robbins' Broadway) and Peeples (NORTH SHORE, TV's "Fame") do share a genial chemistry, but the latter's abrupt change of heart remains a bit unbelievable. Peeples also hasn't the voice to carry the old standards in her repertoire at the restaurant bandstand.
This modestly budgeted movie, well designed by Byrnadette DiSanto and photographed by Michael Ferris, uses its Philadelphia locales well. Oddly in keeping with the decidedly old-fashioned tale that unfolds, the city looks as if it were still reassuringly in the 1950s. (Adult situations.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: PG
- Review: I DON'T BUY KISSES ANYMORE is a tissue-thin but sweet little romantic comedy. Philadelphia shoe salesman Bernie Fishbine (Jason Alexander), a personable, lonely bachelor, still lives at home with his overbearing mother Sarah (Lainie Kazan) and grandfather… (more)