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Redford, Pfeiffer make for a mushy Up Close

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Directed by Jon Avent.

Written by John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion.

Starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford.

Sony Cheri.

By Teresa Huang
Staff Reporter

Up Close and Personal is Hollywood's latest look at the fantastically exciting world of television, particularly the news. Robert Redford plays Warren Justice, a seasoned news director who is king behind the scenes at a local television station in Miami. Michelle Pfeiffer is the inexperienced news wannabe Tally Atwater, whom Redford takes under his wing and makes a star. There's tension between them at first, but that disappears over time with a few arm brushes in the control room and various tender moments. As she rises to national news fame, she falls in love with him and vice versa.

Plot sound familiar? Maybe that's because it's been done a million times before. This movie rings of clichs and predictability. The focus is obviously on the relationship between Pfeiffer and Redford and not on being a credible inspection of television politics. Many situations are pushed to the extremes in terms of believability. For instance, I found it hard to believe that, until Pfeiffer cuts her hair and improves her wardrobe, everyone is a chauvinist or inconsiderate. There were also times when I almost didn't know what was going on because the dialogue was too mired in sarcasm and news lingo to further the story effectively.

Most frustrating is how the women in the movie, Pfeiffer included, are all portrayed in terms of their relationships with men. Pfeiffer's Tally Atwater is nothing without her Warren behind the scenes to hold her together. They both know it, and everyone around them knows it. And this is okay? Only in a cameo appearance by Stockard Channing do we see a woman with independence, though she's portrayed as cold as ice.

Up Close and Personal is good if you're in the mood for a mushy movie and so long as you don't mind usually knowing what will happen next. Nevertheless, this movie has its moments, particularly in the romancing between a well-dressed and charming Pfeiffer and Redford, who, despite his age, is still sexy enough to make you hold your breath when he takes off his shirt. This movie seemed to be Redford's "see, I can still make the women swoon" project, and as someone who has rediscovered just how sexy he can be, I can say it was a successful endeavor.