The Story Of Us
In The Story Of Us, the latest entry in director Rob Reiner's decreasingly interesting filmography, Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer spend an hour and a half yelling at each other, occasionally in one liners. As the film opens, Willis, conveniently playing a TV comedy writer, and Pfeiffer, a crossword-puzzle creator, have reached a crisis point in their 15-year marriage. After Willis leaves their spotless suburban home, he and Pfeiffer begin to gripe to friends (including Reiner, Rita Wilson, and Paul Reiser) while engaging in flashbacks. A painfully self-serious drama that occasionally throws in jarringly incongruous elements of comedy, The Story Of Us apparently wants to rub its audience's face in the pain of the couple's disintegrating union. And painful it is: Settling into two complementary approaches to the one-note material (courtesy of Alan Zweibel and Jessie Nelson), Willis furrows his brow and throws things when yelling while Pfeiffer bugs her eyes and paces frantically when doing the same. It's like a live-action Punch-and-Judy show for the designer-catalog set. But the real capper is the film's teary-monologue-driven finale. After spending 90 minutes illustrating that the central relationship of The Story Of Us is about as healthy as the one in Story Of O, Reiner doesn't even have the guts to take Us to its logical conclusion. It's a finish as superficially tasteful as one of Pfeiffer and Willis' throw pillows, but an appropriate finale to one of the year's most excruciating, shallow films.