This is one of the best movies from one of the 1970s' finest and most underappreciated auteurs, Paul Mazursky.
But it's a strange movie to release for the first time on DVD as part of a Valentine's Day promotion, which is what the distributor is doing, for there is a melancholy desperation to its romanticism that is unsettling, to say the least. Stephen Blume (George Segal), a Beverly Hills attorney in a state of denial about his crumbling marriage, goes to shockingly extreme lengths to chase and lure back his wife (Susan Anspach). She, meanwhile, has begun an affair with a sweet hippie (Kris Kristofferson). The gifted Mazursky understood the middle-class ennui of the 1970s better than any director of the era. He was able to wrap his observations in warmth and humor (and uniformly great acting) while at the same time avoiding clichés and sentimentality. In its way, Blume is as challenging a 1970s film as Taxi Driver. Incidentally, Mazursky is getting a long overdue tribute from the Film Society of Lincoln Center in May. (Steven Rosen) Grade: A
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