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FOR RICHER OR POORER

SYNOPSIS:
Real estate developer Brad (Tim Allen) and his arrogant, high society wife Caroline Sexton (Kirstie Alley) are unhappily married socialites living in Manhattan. Still, they have their high rolling lifestyle, until they learn that their accountant, Bob Lachman (Wayne Knight), has filed erroneous tax claims and embezzled their money. After Derek Lester (Larry Miller), a gung-ho I.R.S. agent, mistakenly opens fire on Brad, the couple go on the run and find themselves in Amish country, pretending to be Jacob and Emma Yoder, visiting Amish relatives to Samuel (Jay O. Sanders) and Lavinia Yoder (Megan Cavanagh). They stay on the Yoder farm and quickly try to adjust to the lack of their usual creature comforts. Time passes, and as their lawyer Phil Kleinman (Michael Lerner) tries to work things out for them, Brad and Caroline become more accustomed to their new, simpler lifestyle and begin to grow fond of each other again. Their masquerade, however, is soon threatened by agent Lester and his partner, Frank Hall (Miguel A. Nunez), who begin to zero in on the Sexton's whereabouts.

"Like Jungle 2 Jungle before it, For Richer or Poorer pits two contrasting cultures against each other, while we watch the characters adapt. In its favour, For Richer or Poorer is slick, beautifully shot and does have a heart. It also has Kirsty Alley and Tim Allen, who are delightful together, exuding genuine screen chemistry. Itís full credit to them that they can be so engaging, even when the situation is totally ludicrous and the plot has got lost in a paddock covered with cow poo. But if youíve seen the promotional flyers showing Alley and Allen sitting on a cow, he with a mobile phone, and she dressed to the nines with her compact, you will know pretty much what to expect. Itís not Shakespeare. Yes, itís predictable, contrived and there are intrinsic weaknesses in the plot which wavers and gets bogged down in length as well as substance. But Alley is sassy and a real scene stealer as the bitchy socialite who is domestically challenged, with Allen comically appealing as the material corporate guy with his own sense of logic. In itís favour are the verdant, picture postcard setting, and Randy Edelmanís musical diverse score, filled with melodic sculpture. The Amish community is portrayed with warmth and dignity, while the message that the best things in life are free, does get through the chuckles. Itís cute, itís fun, itís low on substance, but For Richer or Poorer brings happy escapism that promotes the value of true friendship, love and commitment."
Louise Keller

"It would help when writing a film comedy these days to write something that is actually funny. I know that's a big ask, but, hey, that's the reality of the movie business. While some TV comedians are able to work successfully on a larger canvas, others ought to stick to what they know best. Welcome to the world of formulaic comedy, a world inhabited by robotic morons. It was probably a good idea at the time: a bickering rich couple who discover they are penniless, and end up with the down-to-earth Amish. And of course the moral is, a lot of hard work is what makes one a decent human being. The trouble is, the film is a comedy without the humour, a series of forced moments that don't go anywhere. Tim Allen spends much of the movie in a series of repetitive facial grimaces that are awful, while Alley whines her way through most of the picture. Her sudden transformation is the most unbelievable of them all. At least the film doesn't parody the Amish people, and some of those scenes are nicely done. But the film lacks any real spark. It's a forced, overdone piece, sluggishly directed (and overlong), with an incredible sameness to it. The best comedies are those based on genuine wit and intelligence, rather than one crafted by nitwits. Seeing this film would definitely make one poorer, not richer."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1
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FOR RICHER OR POORER (M)
(US)

CAST: Tim Allen, Kirstie Alley, Jay OíSanders, Michael Lerner, Wayne Knight, Larry Miller, Miguel A. Nunez Jr, Megan Cavanagh, John Pyper-Ferguson, Carrie Preston, Katie Moore, June Claman

PRODUCERS: Sid, Bill & Jon Sheinberg

DIRECTOR: Bryan Spicer

SCRIPT: Jana Howington, Steve LuKanic

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Buzz Feitshans IV

EDITOR: Russell Denove

MUSIC: Randy Edelman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stephen Hendrickson

RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 23, 1998







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