Hard Promises

This earnest comedy has the bland consistency of a TV movie designed to complement commercials for soft drinks. Everybody's just so gosh darn sweet. Well, okay, Joey Coalter (William Petersen) isn't much of a husband. His odd jobs keep him mostly on the road. In twelve years of marriage, wife Chris (Sissy Spacek) reckons that Joey has been home with her and daughter Beth (Olivia Burnette) for no more than 1137 days. Chris is fond of spouting details like this, and even the no-bull talent of Spacek can't save the role from darlingness. But, hell, Joey loves his womenfolk back in Texas. When he learns that Chris has divorced him in absentia and is planning to marry nice, dull Walt (Brian Kerwin), Joey hightails it home to set things right.

Though Chris is torn between passion and security (there's a new one), don't expect an explosion. Writer Jule Selbo — not surprisingly from TV (Life Goes On) — and director Martin Davidson, who's behind such tripe as Heart of Dixie and Hero at Large, smooth out those pesky rough edges and anything else that's remotely interesting. Petersen tries so hard for charm he kills any chance to achieve it. The movie is too bloodless to provoke scorn; it's simply a forgettable mediocrity.

From The Archives Issue 510: October 8, 1987
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