Friday September 25, 1998
"Dirty Laundry" is a washout.
There is absolutely no good reason for anyone to bother seeing this trite, underdeveloped comedy of marital infidelity that offers nothing to differentiate it from zillions of others. Writer Michael Normand and co-director-producer Robert Sherwin display plenty of feeling for their people but virtually no imagination in giving them or their predicament any individuality or dimension.
Jay Thomas stars as a New Jersey dry-cleaning entrepreneur who's hit a midlife crisis, the withering of his love life with his wife of 15 years (Tess Harper) coinciding with the imminent collapse of his business. He finally agrees to his wife's suggestion that he seek counseling only to end up with one of those nitwit psychiatrists who have been spoofed to death on the screen since the sound era began. He advises Thomas to try a prostitute (Dana Chaifetz). He does, only to be caught with her in his own home by Harper.
Although an advice columnist for a women's magazine, Harper not only will not hear out her husband--who in fact has been unable to betray her out of his deep love for her--but also hypocritically has already had a secret one-time-only fling with her handsome young chiropractor (Stanley Earl Harrison), which she now intends to turn into a full-fledged affair. For added measure she's pregnant but unsure whether her husband or her lover is the father--a mystery that unaccountably seems of little concern to her.
"Dirty Laundry" resolves itself in thoroughly predictable fashion. Thomas and Harper are proven actors but cannot, no matter how hard they try, bring this couple to life or even suggest that there may in fact once have been a spark between them. That there are far worse pictures out there doesn't make "Dirty Laundry" any brighter.
Dirty Laundry, 1998. Unrated. An Artistic License Films release. Producers-directors Robert Sherwin and Michael Normand. Screenplay by Normand. Cinematographer John Newby. Editor Andrew Morreale. Music James Legg. Production designer John Paino. Art director Jim Donahue. Set decorator Rona De Angelo. Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes. Jay Thomas as Joey Greene. Tess Harper as Beth Greene. Stanley Earl Harrison as Lowel Bower. Dana Chaifetz as Amy.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times