A L L . O P I N I O N . N O . F A C T
Ally McBeal and "In and Out"

(from email; sorry.)
September 21, 1997

I'm in love with Ally McBeal. Ally attended Harvard Law School, but did so, she says, only in order to follow her boyfriend, who had been her boyfriend pretty much from age 3 on. Then, she made Harvard Law Review, but he did not, so he transferred to Michigan. He asked her to follow, but she did not. Then, after graduation, he went to clerk for a federal judge for a year (I think) while she took a job at a corporate firm in Boston. When she quits her corporate firm job in disgust after being sexually harassed by a partner, she is invited to join a small litigation boutique run by a former classmate of hers at Harvard Law. She accepts the job offer, and quickly learns that her beloved ex-bf is a co-worker, only now he is married to a blonde bombshell (Courtney Thorne-Smith, formerly "Allison" of Melrose Place) who also happens to be a smart attorney! Poor Ally. She has a wonderful African-American roommate/best friend, and they spend their weekends dancing at some club, where they can always count on these goofy twins as dancing partners.

I like the show because of its cynical over-the-top slightly hyperbolic yet metaphorical edge: e.g., after a partner in the firm is arrested for soliciting a prostitute, he gives the firm a public 'speech of apology' (which was awful), and then hands out a 'survey' to see how well the speech went over. Ally unapologetically gives the speech a "2." Heh.

Now, on to a movie review: last nite I saw "In and Out," starring Kevin Kline and the fabulous Joan Cusack. I cannot recommend this film more highly. Kline is absolutely brilliant, playing the role of a is-he-gay-or-not-gay Barbra-Streisand-loving English teacher with flair and charisma only known to Kevin Kline. Joan Cusack is equally loveable and expressive. Matt Dillon plays a former-student-cum-Oscar-winning movie star with just the right amount of sense of humor. Glenn Close has a wonderful cameo. And Tom Sellack was so much more likeable than I expected! The plot is simple, and I had slight problems with its all-or-nothing gay-not-gay politics (no one seems to acknowledge the existence of bisexuals, sigh - but that is typical), but for what it was, this movie was amazingly entertaining and funny. There were certain scenes with Debbie Reynolds (who plays Kevin Kline's mother) that really left me howling.

This should not be surprising. "In and Out" was written by Paul Rudnick, also responsible for one of my *favorite* films of all time (no joke) -- "Addams Family Values," which is a cynical and bitingly funny take on the American family and suburban class values. (Remember, it was the one with the summer camp, and the play about "Thanksgiving," with the adorable actor who plays the young Jewish camper who falls for the dark and brilliant Wednesday). Rudnick also wrote "The First Wives Club" (or at least the film adaptation, of course) (which I still need to see!) as well as "Jeffrey."

Go see it!

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Copyright 1997 Rebecca L. Eisenberg mars@bossanova.com. All rights reserved.