It's difficult to describe the extraordinary wrong-headedness of this failed comedy about a man whose genitals start talking to him and equally difficult to fathom how this film could be based on a work by celebrated author Alberto Moravia. Something must have been lost in the translation
from the Italian original. Best described as LOOK WHO'S TALKING for salacious grown-ups (with a wisecracking penis replacing the loquacious baby), ME AND HIM is stupefying from start to finish.
Bert Uttanzi (Griffin Dunne), a workaholic architect and stalwart family man, reaches a turning point in his harried existence when his penis begins speaking to him on the eve of an important architectural project. Urging him to go out and live it up, the meddlesome organ puts Bert in a quandary:
Should he pursue domestic bliss or hedonistic pleasure? After fainting from shock and being revived by paramedics, Bert is ill-prepared for his project presentation before his coworkers, his boss, Peter (Craig T. Nelson), and his boss's wife, Eleanor (Kelly Bishop). Somehow, Bert's penis manages
to talk him through the meeting and even helps him submit a well-received proposal for a building called "Venice on the Marina." Capitulating to the demands his penis later makes, Bert angers his allegedly loveable but rather shrewish wife, Annette (Ellen Greene), when he temporarily moves into
the apartment of a coworker who's been transferred. Bert claims he needs to work without distraction in order to win the coveted job of project manager, but his penis has other plans for him, involving extra-marital fun. After seducing a woman he picks up at his health club, Bert is beset by a
number of complications, including (a) his wife, who's growing increasingly suspicious, (b) a beautiful coworker, Janet (Carey Lowell), who's having a fling with Peter, and (c) Eleanor, who's willing to use her influence to get Bert the job if he goes to bed with her. After engaging in some
ridiculous fantasies, Bert refuses to sleep his way to the top, strikes out with the two-timing Janet, and upsets his wife when he visits home. He also eagerly has sex with another office worker when he's supposed to go to an important meeting with his boss and a political figure. Following some
advice about controlling his talking "thing" with a voodoo ritual involving burning a snapshot, Bert manages to silence his penis for awhile. Telling the luscious Janet (who's suddenly aroused by him) that he now only thinks of her platonically, Bert returns to Annette, but mistakenly believes
that she has become unfaithful. After being replaced as temporary project manager by Janet, Bert later blows his last big opportunity by refusing to have bizarre sex with Eleanor at a party. His penis is suddenly talking again, and when everyone's genitals begin conversing at the party, Bert is
fired. Janet gets the project manager's job, but Bert gets his wife and family back. Two years later, Bert has become a major architect; however, he is still tempted by the taunts of his talking penis.
The premise of this film easily provokes nervous laughter, and one can only imagine what the "high-concept" meetings for the project were like. It's hard to believe that Doris Dorrie, who created the sprightly German comedy MEN, could have contributed such lackluster direction. Poorly paced, ME
AND HIM offers a steady stream of smutty jokes and sexual innuendo. Although it aims to be something different, Dorrie's teasing film is full of unerotic shots of clothed body parts and turns some attractive comic actors into clods.
After choosing to appear in this film and WHO'S THAT GIRL?, Dunne is in need of career guidance. He and most of the players ham it up to compensate for the script's lack of wit, but to little avail. Mark Linn-Baker is the essence of cloying cuteness as the voice of the penis. And the badly
misdirected Greene--an actress always in need of a tight rein--is utterly unappealing, tearing into every paper-thin comic scene as if she were performing Ibsen.
Conveying little humor, this satirical battle of the sexes meanders from dirty joke to dirty joke until the smutty sit-com proceedings begin to wear down the viewer. As Bert's penis cajoles him, we watch in disbelief as the film presents a vision of the penis as Auntie Mame. Tasteless and unfunny,
this feeble farce has so little comic identity that its climax is a song-and-dance number by female office workers--from stag movie to musical comedy is quite a leap. (Sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1989
- Rating: R
- Review: It's difficult to describe the extraordinary wrong-headedness of this failed comedy about a man whose genitals start talking to him and equally difficult to fathom how this film could be based on a work by celebrated author Alberto Moravia. Something must… (more)