Nadine | Chicago Reader

Nadine

A mild, romantic comedy-thriller, set in Austin, Texas, in 1954. If only the actors—Kim Basinger, Jeff Bridges, Rip Torn, and Gwen Verdon—had more to sink their teeth into, they could have had a field day; but writer-director Robert Benton gives them so little nourishment or stimulus that even a pro like Bridges seems somewhat bemused by the lack of material, while Rip Torn looks so bored with his own cardboard villain that he might as well be phoning in the part. Neither the setting nor the period is made distinctive, and apart from a few minor Hitchcockian jolts, the overall strategy seems to be banking everything on the behavioral cuteness of the two leads, who do the best they can with their condescendingly sketched-in southern working-class characters. Not even cinematography by Nestor Almendros can juice up the proceedings; the movie chugs along, but barely. Although Benton went to school in nearby Austin in the 50s, he seems to remember the movies he saw there better than the region, which is scaled down to sitcom proportions.

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