ANDPOP’s Sarah Khan hopes to expand your film repertoire as she tackles some of the best little known films in the new bi-weekly column, “Blink And You’ll Miss It.” This week, she tells you why Lawrence Kasdan’s I Love You To Death is one film you shouldn’t overlook.
What It Is: The hilarious fact-based black comedy about a scorned wife who decides that she’d rather she her adulterous husband dead than with another woman. Starring Tracey Ullman as the contemptuous wife and Kevin Kline as her unfaithful husband, this movie is a little known gem from 1990 which also features noteworthy actors William Hurt, Keanu Reeves, River Phoenix, Joan Plowright and Miriam Margolyes.
The story of simple enough: Joey Boca (Kline) is a well-loved member of the community thanks to his family run pizza shop in which he works with his devoted wife Rosalee (Ullman) and their hired hippie busboy, Devo (Phoenix). Devo is madly in love with Rosalee and correctly suspects Joey of cheating on his wife.
To be totally honest, I don’t know why this movie went under the radar.
When Rosalee finds out that Devo has been right all along, she is distraught and decides that she won’t divorce him and just so he can run off with some other woman and would rather see him dead. With the help of her wacky mother and the always faithful Devo, the trio plan to murder Joey, but find that he’s much harder to kill than expected!
Why You Probably Missed It: To be totally honest, I don’t know why this movie went under the radar. Kevin Kline was already a household name thanks to his performances in Sophie’s Choice and A Fish Called Wanda and River Phoenix was on everyone’s radar not only for his unbelievable good looks but for his incredible talent as well. Couple that with established actors like William Hurt and Joan Plowright plus a hilariously kooky plot and you have everything it takes to make a crowd pleasing movie!
Chances are people overlooked it because 1990 was the year tons of extremely popular and high-grossing films were released. Pretty Woman, La Femme Nikita and Days of Thunder were all released weeks before or after I Love You To Death, so it was likely just a matter of bad timing for this movie.
Why You Should Watch It: In a previous post, I expressed my undying love for River Phoenix and though he’s as good as ever in this movie, he’s surprisingly not the reason why I love this movie so much. The dynamic between Kevin Kline and Tracey Ullman is a big part of it and though they have little screen time together, their relationship is the star of the film.
There aren’t enough praises I can throw at Kevin Kline for he’s such a talented actor; he’s wildly hilarious and has that unique ability to totally morph into his character. So, when you’re watching him you forget that he’s Kevin Kline. His role as Joey Boca is one of the best examples of this talent and it definitely should not be missed.
You should remember that despite the heavy plot, the movie is actually a comedy and Joan Plowright as Rosalee’s mother is one of the funniest things about this movie. Her character is makes a small party out of committing this murder and the moments when her macabre joy is coupled with her motherly instincts will have your sides splitting.