Born Yesterday

(Luis Mandoki, USA, 1993)


If you can overcome the suspicion at the outset that this Born Yesterday is a rather unnecessary remake of the fine old 1950 classic – or if you have never seen that classic – then it’s possible to get at least a little enjoyment from this resolutely lightweight comedy.

Billie (Melanie Griffith) is the none-too-bright, kept woman of stolid business tycoon Harry (John Goodman). In order to improve her dinner party chat, Harry hires suave journalist Paul (Don Johnson) to teach her a thing or two.

Naturally, this is a typically American moral tale involving love, self-respect and generosity. Director Luis Mandoki begins the film in an appealingly fluid style seemingly borrowed from the late Emile Ardolino (Dirty Dancing, 1987), which makes the most of the considerable, in-built charm of the actors and the amusing, feel-good routines which the script hands them.

Long before the end, however, it becomes rather painfully flat and stagey.

MORE Mandoki: Message in a Bottle, Trapped

© Adrian Martin March 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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