Used People (1992)
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Todd Graff wrote the screenplay for this eccentric romantic comedy in the spirit of Moonstruck that exchanges pasta for matzo balls. The film takes place in Queens in 1969, where Pearl Berman (Shirley MacLaine) has just arrived back from the funeral of her husband. As her dysfunctional family kvetches in the living room, the dapper Joe Meledandri (Marcello Mastroianni) arrives. It seems that Joe has admired Pearl from afar for a number of years, ever since he met her husband in a bar and persuaded him to return to his wife. He invites Pearl for coffee, provoking the wisecrack from her mother (Jessica Tandy): "She got picked up at her own husband's funeral." As Pearl is wooed by Joe, she has to deal with her lonely, overweight daughter Bibby (Kathy Bates) and her prettier daughter Norma (Marcia Gay Harden), who suffers from such a lack of self esteem that she assumes the personalities of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Bonnie Parker. … More
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Critic Reviews for Used People
A soap opera with suds, this meller gives a bad name to the woman's picture in its story of a Jewish widow-matriarch and her dysfunctional family (mom, two problematic daughters), thrown off its shaken balance when Mastroianni's Italian charmer arrives
Well-observed but shapeless mainstream romantic comedy that reminds one of Moonstruck.
Mastroianni and MacLaine are both fine, but the film is a little too cutesy for its own good.
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