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Review of Bedroom Window

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In 1987, Ronald Reagan was in the White House, New Wave was synthesizing popular music and Steve Guttenberg was a major male lead in Hollywood. Curtis Hansen's romantic thriller The Bedroom Window features women throwing themselves at Guttenberg -- namely, Isabelle Huppert and Elizabeth McGovern. Strange days indeed.

The movie opens promisingly. Guttenberg and Huppert are having an affair (he works for her husband, played by Paul Shenar). One night while trysting with Guttenberg at his apartment, Huppert witnesses an assault on McGovern from the eponymous window, and gets a good look at the Joe Jackson-esque assailant (Brad Greenquist).

When they later discover that a murder of another young woman took place in a nearby neighborhood that same night, Guttenberg decides to solve Huppert's dilemma -- she obviously can't tell the police that she witnessed the assault from Guttenberg's apartment -- by claiming to the police that it was he, rather than Huppert, who saw the attack on McGovern.

Of course, in doing his good deed for the day, Guttenburg gets a lot more than he bargained for. After predictably failing to identify the attacker in a line-up, he is pulled into a web of intrigue and himself becomes the chief subject in the series on ensuing murders.

The Bedroom Window wants very much to be Hitchcockian. In fact, it refers to itself as such in the trailer. And it does accomplish this to a limited extent. There are surprising twists leading up to and then going beyond the first plot point. But this is a purely formulaic Hollywood product, with all the accompanying compromises. Many of the things that happen in the movie are implausible, to say the least. To put it simply, the movie is frequently inane. It's disappointing to see a movie start with promise and then morph into a product right off the Syd Field conveyor belt. This transformation is complete by the (ludicrous) second plot point.

Elizabeth McGovern's performance as the spunky victim is entertaining and effective. If there's anything worth seeing in his movie after the first half hour or so, it's Ms. McGovern. The quality of her acting is underlined in The Bedroom Window, opposite Guttenberg, who was really not leading-man material, and Huppert, who is terrible.

Veteran character actors Maury Chaykin and Wallace Shawn are on hand for supporting performances.

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