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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Divorce American Style (1967)

A typical middle class suburban couple (Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Reynolds) are unable to resolve their marital differences and file for divorce. He becomes involved with a divorcee (Jean Simmons) after her ex-husband (Jason Robards) pushes them together in the hope that they'll get married and free him of alimony payments so he can marry his pregnant girlfriend (Eileen Brennan). The wife takes up with a TV car salesman (Van Johnson). One of the better film comedies of the 1960s, the Oscar nominated screenplay by Norman Lear (TV's ALL IN THE FAMILY) is clever and smart with the sting of truth to it. One scene with a group of divorced and remarried fathers picking up their children for their weekend visits and getting the kids mixed up is priceless. Reynolds (in one of her best performances) and Van Dyke as the typical suburban couple are so perfectly matched up that it's positively scary! But Lear's screenplay never lets the laughs get in the way of the often bitter and unhappy situations caused by divorce. In fact, for such a noted liberal, he's quite conservative on the subject. Directed by Bud Yorkin. With Lee Grant, Shelley Berman, Tim Matheson, Tom Bosley, Emmaline Henry and Pat Collins.

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