Harlequin: Another Woman (1994)
Directed by Alan Smythe
Written by Margot Dalton, Jim Henshaw, Lee Langley, Lyle Slack
Produced by Ian McDougall, Jean Desormeaux, Jim Henshaw, Caird Urquhart
Starring Justine Bateman, Peter Outerbridge, Amy Stewart, Jackie Richardson, Kenneth Welsh, James Purcell, Elizabeth Lennie, Diana Belshaw, Meg Hogarth
Retrograde amnesia comes of concussion inflicted by thuggish muggers to suppress the memories and clear the choler of a rancorous restaurateur (Bateman), whose re-emergent geniality affords her an opportunity to rectify spoiled kinships with her handsome husband (Outerbridge) and teenage sister-in-law (Stewart). However, she’s stalked by a greasy acquaintance (Purcell) who in murderous malice targets her marriage.
Dalton’s drama is typical of Harlquin’s formulaic fare, and translates well to these 92 minutes. Cozily romantic locales and circumstances, and the divulgence of a tragic secret, supplement her slightly skimpy story.
The professionally undistinguished direction of (pseudonymous?) Smythe is as unsurprising as unobjectionable.
Excepting some dreamt cutbacks uglified by selective decolorization in post-production, the bland warmth of Michael Storey’s photography becomes Smythe’s adequate composition.
Withal, Pia Di Ciaula cut this to a measured pace in an accordingly conventional manner.
Ordinarily obnoxiously oafish in Family Ties and dreck like The Night We Never Met, Bateman actually radiates a hesitant amenity as the amiable amnesiac, despite her plodding gait. Outerbridge has buttoned-down charm to spare, which largely offsets the leads’ lack of steam. Among the satisfactorily subsidiary players, Welsh is avuncularly appealing as Bateman’s suave psychiatrist.
Emotive, synthesized strings, smooth jazz and portentous tones are all comprised to be liminally heard in David Blamires’s score.
Her gradual recovery, recollections, reconciliations, and romance in Bateman’s severally palatial and rustic houses are ingratiating.
Amatorian scenes of Bateman’s and Outerbridge’s spouses set early in their relationship star a couple who bear no resemblance to them. Two assaults are presented in blurrily unsightly slow motion.
Anyone familiar with Harlequin’s lightweight novels or televised features knows what to expect from any of either: lovers live happily ever after, but their trip is more important than its inevitable destination. Mike Nichols’s and J.J. Abrams’s situationally similar, unbearably saccharine Regarding Henry was produced on a tenfold budget a few years prior, but it’s laughably inferior to this modest trifle.