The Story Of Us

Sure they're unusually well off, unusually attractive and have unusually cool jobs (he's a comedy writer and she designs crossword puzzles), but Ben and Katie Jordan (Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer) are us; we won't be able to help but identify with their problems. That seems to be the notion driving this dramedy about marital crisis and the 17-year itch....read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Sure they're unusually well off, unusually attractive and have unusually cool jobs (he's a comedy writer and she designs crossword puzzles), but Ben and Katie Jordan (Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer) are us; we won't be able to help but

identify with their problems. That seems to be the notion driving this dramedy about marital crisis and the 17-year itch. We start in the present, as Katie and Ben (married for 15 years, together for two more) prepare to send their kids to summer camp and start a trial separation that appears to

be leading straight to divorce court. Then it's flashback time — the first date, the babies, the fights and the fun, the attempted reconciliations and the angry silences, scrambled so you have to date them by the awful hair-dos and fashion faux pas — interspersed with meaningful

but funny conversations with friends. The French do this kind of thing in their sleep, but Reiner's film is slick and glib when it means to be profound yet ruefully witty; its rhythms are pure sitcom, complete with emotional rimshots. Co-screenwriter Alan Zweibel scored a surgical strike with

The Garry Shandling Show, but the complexities of marriage seem to inspire him less (think Men are From Mars...) than ego-driven showbiz lunacy; his writing partner Jessie Nelson was most recently involved with the lachrymose and supremely phony STEPMOM. You can see what appealed to

Pfeiffer and Willis; they both get to sink their teeth into a series of "big moments," but the irony is that in the end, the Jordans are as tedious as the the boorish couple they meet while vacationing in Venice and mock mercilessly. And no fewer than four repetitions (count 'em, four) of Eric

Clapton's woeful "Get Lost" ("I'm sorry/You're angry...) is at least three too many.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Sure they're unusually well off, unusually attractive and have unusually cool jobs (he's a comedy writer and she designs crossword puzzles), but Ben and Katie Jordan (Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer) are us; we won't be able to help but identify with thei… (more)

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