Random Hearts

Here’s a new form of meeting cute: police sergeant Harrison Ford winds up having a fling with Republican congresswoman Kristin Scott Thomas when their spouses, having a secret affair, perish in a plane crash. To add some irrelevant spice, the cop is going after a crooked colleague and the congresswoman is up for reelection (her campaign manager is director and coproducer Sydney Pollack). Billy Wilder, working with a somewhat similar plot over a quarter of a century ago in Avanti! (about the children rather than the spouses of a couple having a fling), made something sweet and romantic out of the conceit. Pollack–characteristically slick and impersonal as a director, though able as usual as an actor–makes the story a humorless, lugubrious, and interminable accompaniment to Dave Grusin’s insincere elevator music. Wilder enabled us to imagine the adulterous couple without ever showing them; Pollack can’t get us very interested in them even after strewing the screen with pointers. Darryl Ponicsan adapted Warren Adler’s novel, and Kurt Luedtke, credited with the screenplay, presumably adapted Ponicsan’s adaptation; with Charles S. Dutton, Bonnie Hunt, and acres of production values. (JR)

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