- Movie Rating -

The Man Who Loved Women (1983)

| December 16, 1983

When I bash the good ‘ol boy movies that Burt Reynolds makes, it is only in the hopes that he will make something serious, and often he has.  He seems to have this other career that is separate from his buddy Hal Needham where he takes himself seriously and tries to play a role.  It doesn’t always work, but I appreciate that effort.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of Rough Cut or Starting Over or Sharkey’s Machines but I appreciated the effort.

I, however, cannot extend much appreciation for The Man Who Loved Women in which Burt plays a man who claims to love women but really doesn’t love women at all.  He’s a hopeless womanizer who sees beautiful women as a grand prize, a thing for his belt.  He sees a woman and he falls for her.  He sees an analyst to deal with his obsession and he falls in love with her.  He can’t help himself and I can’t help hating this character, and since the movie opened with his funeral, I can’t find much solace in his continued happiness.  The funeral is merely a device so that we can watch the clock wind backwards so we can see how he got there.  I wish I could express to you how much I hate gimmicks like that.  They’re cheap theatrics.  If a student screenwriter put this on my desk, I’d give them a failing grade just on general principle.

The movie is directed by Blake Edwards as if he were writing the movie while he was filming it.  I don’t know if he knows what kind of movie this is suppose to be.  At one moment it tries being real and sincere and the next minute it’s trying for some leftover slapstick from the Pink Panther movies, as in a scene in which he gets stuck in a woman’s apartment when her husband comes home because he has stuck himself together with superglue.

 That bit is the bad end of a very funny buildup as Reynolds goes to Texas and begins a sexual encounter with a beautiful woman (Kim Basinger) whose horny inclinations are so bold that they’re almost cartoonish.  They have sex in a lot of weird and different places.  The problem is that most of the gags involving the two go on for so long that we get worn out.  Edwards knows better than that.  He’s a master of this kind of stuff.  What happened here.

Then the movie tries again to get all sincere and real.  He falls for his analyst (Julie Andrews) and the nature of their union feels so real that it almost feels like it’s on another planet from the Basinger stuff.  When we finally get back to Burt’s funeral it is attended by a lot of the women he has fallen in love with, but the movie hasn’t earned this.  We haven’t been privy to his romantic or passionate love for women.  We’ve only seen that the views them as notches on his belt.  He’s a fraud, a womanizer, a skirt-chaser, a man who uses women frequently but certainly doesn’t love them.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1983) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy, Drama