For awhile, "Funny About Love" looks like it's going to be the funniest romantic comedy to come out of the Hollywood chute in awhile, as famous New York cartoonist Gene Wilder romances and eventually marries struggling chef Christine Lahti.
Director Leonard Nimoy does seem to be rushing through some sequences as they woo, marry and become disenchanted at not being able to have a child. But Wilder and Lahti are wonderful together - there's great comic chemistry here between two very talented and appealing screen talents. And there are some hilarious bits of business and one-liners from Wilder.Soon, however, the proceedings begin to lose steam with a series of vulgar gags about their efforts to get Lahti pregnant. And about halfway through the film "Funny About Love" gets serious and eventually turns into an entirely different movie - and not a better one.
Wilder and Lahti have a falling out over whether she should become a first-class chef in a fancy restaurant or stay home so they can work at having a baby again.
And before you know it, they're divorced and Wilder is seeing a young co-ed, played by Mary Stuart Masterson.
Masterson, a talented actress who has been very good in such films as "Immediate Family" and "Some Kind of Wonderful," is terribly miscast here. She has no chemistry with Wilder - especially apparent since he clicks so well with Lahti - and seems far too young for their romance to be believable. (Apparently, Wilder also had an on-screen fling with Farrah Fawcett, but her scenes have been cut and she's nowhere to be seen. It's hard to believe her relationship with Wilder could have been any more awkward than Masterson's.)
The film's ending tries valiantly to neatly patch things up between Wilder and Lahti - including their having an infant - but it's so pat and silly that it seems an enormous cheat.
Not that it matters. By then most of the audience will likely have given up on this film - it gets that bad.
What a shame. Had Nimoy and screenwriters Norman Steinberg ("My Favorite Year") and David Frankel (TV's "Doctor, Doctor") simply made a film about Wilder and Lahti's romance and their working out problems in an effort to make their marriage work, this might have been an enjoyable confection.
As it is, "Funny About Love" isn't very funny and it's not really about love.
"Funny About Love" is rated PG-13 for sex, profanity, brief nudity and vulgarity, though it really feels more like R-rated territory, given the amount of the film devoted to frank sexual material.