April 5, 1996 in Seven

Don’t Be True To Cher’s ‘Faithful’ O’Neal, Cher, Palminteri More Annoying Than Entertaining

Chris Hewitt St. Paul Pioneer Press
 

Do Cher a favor; don’t go to her new movie, “Faithful.” Buy her album, order some medieval gewgaws from her catalog, think a few really mean thoughts about Sonny and Gregg Allman, but do not go to this rotten movie.

As a wealthy matron who’s about to pack it in because her husband (Ryan O’Neal) is cheating on her, she gives a sad, achy performance. It’s completely wrong for the movie, which is meant to be a comedy about what happens when O’Neal hires a hit man (Chazz Palminteri) to ice his wife, but the hit man and the hittee hit it off.

Each of the characters can be summed up with one adjective - pathetic wife, angry hit man, weaselly husband - so the actors keep hitting the same notes over and over. The wife makes no sense (one minute she’s ready to kill herself, the next minute she’s embracing life), and it’s a humiliating role for Cher, whose decision to end it all is played as a cruel joke.

Palminteri plays a philosopher/hit man, a character that exists nowhere but in the movies, and most of his bitter punch lines, if that’s what you want to call them, fall flat. By the time he tears into a rant about peanut butter (crunchy vs. smooth), he has become actively annoying.

A veteran of “What’s Up, Doc?,” O’Neal is adept at the sort of fast, silly farce “Faithful” appears to be in the TV ads, but “Faithful” is not that movie. I spent most of the time O’Neal is onscreen wondering what on earth happened to his face and trying to decide who I disliked more: his character or Palminteri’s. It’s a draw, but what I do know is that watching “Faithful” is like being stuck in a room for two hours with people you can’t stand.

MEMO: These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. “Faithful” Locations: North Division Cinemas. Credits: Directed by Paul Mazursky; starring Cher, Chazz Palminteri, Ryan O’Neal Running time: 1:28 Rating: R 2. OTHER VIEWS Here’s what other critics say about “Faithful:”

Lawrence Toppman/Charlotte Observer: Director Paul Mazursky finds dull ways to set up the repetitive dialogue, which revolves around sex and marital fidelity. He uses the last resort of a stymied director: silent flashbacks while Tony and Margaret talk about their pasts. … Palminteri is the best actor alive playing dangerous but potentially salvageable 40-yearolds from the Bronx. (It’s the only role he can play, I’m guessing.) But Tony’s an undifferentiated nut case, not worth our sympathy or time. Cher mopes plausibly as Margaret, returning to movies after a six-year absence in a picture that will do her career little good. You have to wonder what ever drew Margaret to Jack, since O’Neal has all the charisma and individuality of a plastic bar ashtray.

Joe Baltake/Scripps-McClatchy Western Service: A chic exercise in pointlessness, Paul Mazursky’s longdelayed “Faithful” is one of those projects to which a movie company foolishly becomes committed and then gets cold feet when company executives see the final product. The company in this case is Savoy Pictures, which is no longer in business - something that will be entirely understandable after you see this film. “Faithful” is probably the kind of movie that looked good on paper and still looks good - on paper. On film, however, it still looks unreleasable. It’s an enervating experience.

These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. “Faithful” Locations: North Division Cinemas. Credits: Directed by Paul Mazursky; starring Cher, Chazz Palminteri, Ryan O’Neal Running time: 1:28 Rating: R 2. OTHER VIEWS Here’s what other critics say about “Faithful:”

Lawrence Toppman/Charlotte Observer: Director Paul Mazursky finds dull ways to set up the repetitive dialogue, which revolves around sex and marital fidelity. He uses the last resort of a stymied director: silent flashbacks while Tony and Margaret talk about their pasts. … Palminteri is the best actor alive playing dangerous but potentially salvageable 40-yearolds from the Bronx. (It’s the only role he can play, I’m guessing.) But Tony’s an undifferentiated nut case, not worth our sympathy or time. Cher mopes plausibly as Margaret, returning to movies after a six-year absence in a picture that will do her career little good. You have to wonder what ever drew Margaret to Jack, since O’Neal has all the charisma and individuality of a plastic bar ashtray.

Joe Baltake/Scripps-McClatchy Western Service: A chic exercise in pointlessness, Paul Mazursky’s longdelayed “Faithful” is one of those projects to which a movie company foolishly becomes committed and then gets cold feet when company executives see the final product. The company in this case is Savoy Pictures, which is no longer in business - something that will be entirely understandable after you see this film. “Faithful” is probably the kind of movie that looked good on paper and still looks good - on paper. On film, however, it still looks unreleasable. It’s an enervating experience.

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