Lushly photographed, sprinkled with jazzy interludes and smartly played by the attractive cast, the most negative remark one could make about TILL THERE WAS YOU is that it's all been seen before.
Jazz musician Frank Flynn (Mark Harmon) strikes a few sour notes when he goes searching for his missing brother Charlie in the South Pacific. He's given a cool reception by the constabulary, particularly after he's caught breaking curfew with a cooly beautiful blonde hitchhiker named Anna (Deborah
Unger). After learning that his absent sibling has been clubbed to death, allegedly by natives, Flynn continues investigating the case at his own peril. With his suave Paul Henreid manner and competitive streak that extends to cheating at foot races, Robert "Viv" Vivaldi (Jeroen Krabbe), Charlie's
former business associate, immediately leads the suspect parade.
Reencountering Anna (who turns out to be Viv's wife), Frank upsets the police with his Yankee inquisitiveness and irritates Viv with his amateur sleuthing. Having pushed all Viv's buttons and then beaten him at cards, Frank and Anna are forced to flee into the jungle. But what do those gold bars
that Frank keeps stumbling upon have to do with the plot? Subscribing to their father's theory about a downed American bomber full of Japanese gold, Charlie explored the jungle before becoming a victim of Viv's jealousy regarding Anna.
Although Anna is recaptured, Frank is adopted by the quaint natives who teach him advanced bungee jumping, show him where the legendary plane went down, and then assist him in laying siege to Viv's house and vanquishing the villains. Investing his new-found wealth in a jazz club, Frank waits in
New York until Anna deals with her own psychological baggage and widowhood before finally joining her beloved in that other jungle--New York City.
As adventure films go, TILL THERE WAS YOU deserves credit for throwing in everything but the kitchen sink: forbidden love in the tropics; a control-freak villain; sunken treasure; an oppressive military regime; adorable natives; death-defying escapes a la Indiana Jones. This flight of fancy is
chock full of smooth professionalism but precious little inspiration.
Although Harmon and Unger are definitely lovely to look at, they pack the combined sex appeal of two pudding parfaits sitting on a diner refrigerator shelf. The beautiful title tune insinuates its way into the soundtrack at every appropriate turn, but it can't provide passion when the leading
players don't create any sparks. As the deranged husband, Krabbe hams it up as if he were playing the title role in THE VILLAIN STILL PURSUED HER.
With all these not inconsiderable drawbacks, TILL THERE WAS YOU cannot be faulted for its handsome-looking romantic escapism. No matter how far-fetched the plot becomes, the mood music is inviting, the South Seas locale is alluring, and the stars are easy on the eyes. The film's exotic aura
manages to carry you away even when the emotional drama is scarcely more exciting than a list of romantic stop-overs promised on a travel brochure. (Violence, profanity, nudity.)
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- Released: 1990
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Lushly photographed, sprinkled with jazzy interludes and smartly played by the attractive cast, the most negative remark one could make about TILL THERE WAS YOU is that it's all been seen before. Jazz musician Frank Flynn (Mark Harmon) strikes a few sour… (more)