When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

What do you do if your wife is a drunk?  That is the question posed by
WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN, a middle-of-the-road movie-of-the-week that's
neither gritty enough nor sappy enough to be completely interesting.

Michael (Andy Garcia) and Alice Green (Meg Ryan) are the model yuppie
couple. He's an airplane pilot and she's a guidance counselor. Together
they live in a comfortable San Franciso home and have two adorable
pre-teen girls (Tina Majorino and Mae Whitman) and one dedicated
babysitter (Lauren Tom). But something's amiss in Wonderland as Alice is
imbibing increasing amounts of alcohol.  Her hubby doesn't smell the
signs until after an accident on a Mexican vacation. She vows change, he
accepts change and, of course, the problem stays a problem..

On the Squish Scale, WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN is surprisingly tolerable.
The standard teary tricks-- such as the obligatory musical montage-- are
all very tasteful and the director doesn't try to pull too many strings
at once.  That is, with two exceptions.

The more sensitive viewers will gasp when Alice drunkenly strikes at her
child. (Listen to the audience!) And all able-bodied attendees should
probably leave five minutes before the film finishes to avoid any
accidents on tear-soaked surfaces.)

WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN doesn't have much of an edge, either, and never
elaborates on the hows and whys of drug addiction.  But who cares?  The
leads are attractive and, despite a pace that leaves way too much room
for second-guessing, deliver a reasonably believable story.

You can't beat Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia for star power. The criminally
cute Ryan has a good roller-coaster role, even if her character isn't
completely lived-in.  Garcia has the harder part to play. His character
is *so* adorably concerned and *so* far off-base from knowing how to
help his wife.  He's a marvel of male misunderstanding and helps drive
home the message that recovery requires work on *both* sides of the

Technical credits are all very good, with the exception of whoever came
up with that terrible title. There is a reason that certain states have
laws prohibiting the naming of a film after any song covered by Michael

Writer Al Franken is the *same* Al Franken who wanders about TV's
"Saturday Night Live" and who once made funny faces at a gorilla in
TRADING PLACES.  (Rated "R"/124 min.)

BOTTOM LINE:     Middle-of-the-road movie-of-the-week that's neither
                 gritty enough nor sappy enough to be completely


Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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