Formerly a reliable purveyor of glossy tearjerkers (Beaches, Frankie & Johnny) and polished romantic comedies (Pretty Woman, Overboard), director Garry Marshall has been through a rocky spell recently. Exit to Eden was universally panned; Dear God went straight to video, and immediately after shooting The Other Sister, Marshall covered his back with Runaway Bride. Here the mentally challenged daughter of upper middleclass parents (Keaton and Skerritt), Carla requires Juliette Lewis to accentuate all her most irritating mannerisms: the nervous tics, slackjawed naivety and mangled speech patterns. Carla is, literally, barking. Mrs Tate doesn't want to allow her 24-year-old out into the world, and when she relents, Carla immediately goes and falls in love with the similarly 'challenged' Danny (Ribisi). Next thing you know they're planning to have sex. Marshall has always taken his emotions straight, but there's something so shameless about a man who'd pep up his 'sensitive' drama with a musical montage to the Fine Young Cannibals' 'She Drives Me Crazy', the appropriate response can only be awe. A touchy-feely hotchpotch of good intentions, dishonourable manipulation, smug laughs and uncomfortable half-truths.
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