Preview #3: I Don’t Buy Kisses Anymore (1992)

The Trailer:

Why did I choose this movie?: First of all, is that not just a great title for a movie? Can’t you almost imagine the movie just from hearing it? Sure, it’s probably a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie from like 1959, but can’t you just imagine it? Or can you imagine Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer arguing about whether they were going to see Death Blow or I Don’t Buy Kisses Anymore? And it would have to be those three, since obviously George is in this movie.

Okay, that’s not fair. Jason Alexander is in this movie, and in 1992 he wasn’t yet identical with George Costanza.

What do I know about this movie?: Maybe a little bit too much. Pretty much the entire plot appears to have been spoiled by the DVD case. It’s a rom-com, Jason Alexander is a single, overweight shoe salesman named Bernie Fishbine, Nia Peeples is a student/singer named Theresa Garabaldi, they meet and fall in love … or so Bernie thinks, until he finds out that she’s just using him as a subject for a paper she’s writing on “The Psychology of the Obese Male.” They break up, assuming they were ever dating in the first place, and somehow true love wins, unless it doesn’t.

What do I expect from this movie?: Trailers always lie. The trailer makes it seem like Bernie is going to have to convince Theresa to dump her conventionally-attractive boyfriend to take up with him. Since this is a movie and he’s overweight, that means he has to get in shape before she’ll ever be able to see any of his redeeming qualities. But once he does, he’ll be irresistible and BF-Prime will have to go pound sand.

However, in my efforts to try to find a way to watch this movie (it’s rather obscure despite Alexander’s later stardom) I found that most reviewers didn’t mention the boyfriend at all. (It appears this movie was not screened for critics when it was released; all the professional reviews relate to the VHS release.) The most common word used to describe this film by consumers is “sweet.” It doesn’t appear to have a very large fanbase but the people who like it, like it. That’s the very definition of a small movie.

Since I know the twist, my real question is whether the movie will tell me what it is up front, or will I have to learn it at the same time Bernie does? There’s a lot at stake there in terms of Theresa’s likability. And if I’m wrong about the boyfriend not being important to the plot, then I’m guessing that Theresa will wind up equating Bernie’s attempt to destroy their relationship with her own deception, justifying her and Bernie ending up together.

Still, even with rom-coms being the most formulaic genre of films this side of action movies, there’s the question of how you get from Point A to Happily Ever After. The trailer truly inspires little confidence that this movie is going to turn out to be a hidden gem. More like the sort of movie they played on HBO weekday mornings in, like, 1982.

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