Angie (1994)

"What have the Irish done to make you hate us so much?" - Stephen Rea to
Geena Davis, when she tries to honk an Irish accent

ANGIE doesn't make a bit of sense, which is shame, considering how
likable this Geena Davis vehicle really is.

ANGIE is Angie Scacciapensieri (Geena Davis), a Catholic/Italian/Bro-
oklyn gal with an okay boyfriend and a better job. By day, she works for
a magazine. By night, she dates a plumber. (Named, what else?, Vin-
nie.) The twist comes when the supposedly free-spirited Scacciapensi-
eri gets pregnant and doesn't want to get married. Because, as she
states, "having a baby changes everything." No duh.

Which pits Angie against her family, her friends, and, ultimately,

There's a lot to like about ANGIE.  There's good acting across the
board, from Mrs. Renny Harlin on down.  The less-than-ethnic-looking
Davis effortlessly carries the film. She's a striking actress *and*, as
proven here, a dependable talent. Some of the better supporting players
include James Gandolfini, Aida Tuturro, and THE CRYING GAME's Stephen
Rea as a love-interest.

More importantly, the characters *feel* real. As do (most of) the
situations. The production values are good. The timing is good. All in
all, a very good effort.

So what's wrong?

ANGIE never explains Angie. Or, if you prefer, the film never clearly
explains who Angie is. We know more of what happens to her anything
else. In fact, Angie goes through enough dramatic situations to fill
three films. Her monologue to an incubator, alone, should send
collective estrogen levels soaring.

(Insecure men beware: ANGIE contains extensive humor on vibrators,
 gynecological exams, and breast feeding!)

The story skimps in a couple other places. Angie's reason for leaving
Vinnie is never made clear. And her truck-stop transformation late in
the film, where she cuts all her hair herself, is barely believable.

Overplaying and unintentional omissions aside, there's enough honest
humor in ANGIE to amuse anyone. Better bits include Angie registering
into the hospital as "Angie Scotchandsoda" and a delivery-room scene
complete with music from A CHORUS LINE.

All this and a healthy dose of Catholic guilt to boot!

Ultimately, ANGIE feels like a "greatest hits" compilation from a
longer, stronger movie. The early scenes work well, but the film goes
downhill, a bit, as the drama is played increasingly hard. Like any
compilation, it's a pleasant experience even if none of the scenes, good
or not-so-good, ever tell us who Angie really is.  Which may leave some
viewers feeling hollow.  Martha Coolidge directs from a script by Todd
Graff, which adapts the novel "Angie, I Says" by Avra Wing.  (Rated "R"/
~110 min.)

BOTTOM LINE:  Likable comic drama that benefits from a good cast, good
characters, and handsome production values.  Demerits:  some overwrought
drama and a vague lead character.

Grade: B-

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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