BootLeg Betty

BetteBack April 4, 1997: The Cincinnati Post – That Old Feeling

The Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, OH)
April 4, 1997 | Kopp, Craig

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”That Old Feeling” wants to bring back old memories of classic romantic comedy couples.

It does – even if the pairing of Bette Midler and Dennis Farina falls short of creating the movie magic of, say, Tracy and Hepburn.

And ”That Old Feeling” is a classic style wrapped in a decidedly modern package.

After all, this is the story of a couple, 14 years divorced, who can’t stand the sight of each other until they look into each other’s eyes at their daughter’s wedding and promptly cheat on their current mates.

Not exactly the stuff of your classic romantic comedies. But still entertaining, for the most part.

Ms. Midler is actress Lilly Leonard. She’s married to pop psychologist Alan Leonard (David Rasche). Farina is Lilly’s ex, Dan De Mora, married to the much-made-over Rowena (Gail O’Grady).

Everybody’s brought together at the wedding of daughter Molly (Paula Marshall), who thinks, rightly, that inviting both of her parents is a recipe for disaster but is convinced by hubby-to-be Keith (Jamie Denton) that it’s the proper thing to do.

There’s a disaster all right, but not the kind Molly imagines.

Lilly and Dan tear into each other as soon as the wedding vows are exchanged, but when their loving daughter makes them settle it outside, they end up inside – each others arms.

Up to this point, ”That Old Feeling” has the kind of comedic tension that makes for great laughs. Ms. Midler can toss the insults with the best of them, and Farina holds his own with her, insult for insult.

But once these two head off on a wild romantic fling, chaos – but not always comedy – reigns. The two jilted spouses spar, and though Ms. O’Grady and Rasche make the most of what they’ve got to work with, they’ve already been outdone in this department by Ms. Midler and Farina.

The two young marrieds learn that they have less in common than Molly’s warring parents did. And, as something of a crazed Greek chorus of one, there’s Joey (Danny Nucci), a photographer who’s made a career of snapping shots of Lilly. Joey’s the one who finally helps get this lovefest/slugfest into focus.

There are plenty of laughs in ”That Old Feeling,” and laughing never grows old. Ms. Midler and Farina have a definite comedic chemistry.

It’s just that when these happily reunited lovers fly off into the sunset, as they always do in these sorts of stories, you just don’t believe it’s really a happy ending.

I mean, if two people who hate each other for over a decade can fall in love and dump their current spouses at the turn of the hat, you just gotta think ”That Old Feeling” – of hatred – is bound to come back sooner or later.

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