For Richer, For Poorer

(Father, Son and the Mistress, Jay Sandrich, USA, 1992)


For Richer, For Poorer is one of those painful, television-style comedies which tries to make the harsh economic realities of unemployment, poverty and downward social mobility seem light and cute – embodied in Madeline Kahn’s unfortunate cameo as a jaunty bag lady.

As a typical Jack Lemmon vehicle, it is a pathetic male melodrama all the way. At one point, the star bemoans the loss of both his fortune and his virility in terms of his sudden inability to “make things happen”.

Under the steering hand of sitcom veteran Jay Sandrich, every crisis levels out into a sickly blancmange of male redemption, token feminism (Jack’s wife and mistress become sisterly friends) and New Age love-yourself morality.

© Adrian Martin May 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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