Bad Manners

on October 09, 1998 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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Bonnie Bedelia ("Needful Things") and David Strathairn ("Mother Night") play Nancy and Wes, an academic, conservative couple who host Nancy's old boyfriend, Matt (Saul Rubinek), a musicologist who has come to Boston to lecture at Harvard. Along for the ride is Kim (Caroleen Feeney), Matt's sexy girlfriend, who immediately stirs the sexual pot, with the predictable fireworks following.
Although the women manage to imbue their characters with some depth, Rubinek and Strathairn aren't so lucky. The former is a mere sap and the latter a stereotypical stuffed shirt, and both are constrained by Gilman's hopelessly contrived script and Kaufer's overemphatic direction. It's been 15 years since Kaufer's directorial debut, the charming romantic comedy "Soup for One," which also starred Rubinek. "Bad Manners" suggests he waited too long for a followup. Starring Saul Rubinek, David Strathairn and Bonnie Bedelia. Directed by Jonathan Kaufer. Written by David Gilman. Produced by J. Todd Harris. A Phaedra release. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 87 min. Do we really need another spin on "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Obviously, scripter David Gilman (who here adapts his play, "Ghost in the Machine") and helmer Jonathan Kaufer think so. But "Bad Manners" is just plain bad, burdened with portentous dialogue and paper-thin characterizations.
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