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Movie Review

A fortysomething couple ponders the possibilities and impossibilities of "happily ever after." Ben is impulsive and sometimes irresponsible. Katie's punctual, factual, organized and a bit overbearing. The kids are away at summer camp and the two just can't stand each other for one more second. So they separate. But that's not quite the end of the story.

Positive Elements: Katie and Ben fight hard against the idea of divorce. As much as they drive each other crazy, they just don't want to destroy their family. Maybe life without each other is actually worse than dealing with life together. That flicker of hope serves them well through the long summer months of fighting, bickering and trial separation. The Story of Us takes a bow to the value of "family," that indescribable something that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Katie and Ben adore their children and their affection is heartily returned.

Sexual Content and Nudity: The featured couple is shown making out (Katie's wearing pants and a bra; Ben is naked, then puts on an apron before checking on the kids upstairs). Explicit word pictures about penises, vaginas, masturbation and adultery are bandied about over dinner on a couple of occasions. Sexual joking and innuendoes are at times harsh. One character insists that his practice of participating in online sex is not cheating on his wife. Another blithely proclaims that "marriage is the Jack Kevorkian of romance," and "love is just lust in disguise."

Violent Content: None

Crude or Profane Language: A rash of unnecessarily harsh obscenities destroys whole sections of the film's dialogue. Jesus' name get abused more than a few times as well.

Drug and Alcohol Content: Wine is drunk on several occasions in social settings.

Summary: The Story of Us ends up playing as an unintentional prequel to ABC-TV's Once and Again. Reiner utilizes voice-overs, fantasy sequences and flashbacks to tell the story of a couple on the verge of divorce. Once and Again tells the story after they go through with it. Glossy pseudo-philosophy (Katie faces the camera and intones, "It still hurts because, well, hurt hurts") detracts from the humanness which should have been central to the story. The bulk of the film bogs down with interminable verbal battles and morose woe-is-me brooding. Then just seconds before the credits roll there's a big payoff. It's too little and way too late. Still, commendation is due for showing the pain of separation and divorce before the fateful papers are signed and the vows broken. Note to filmmaker: Next time tell us our story without all the obscenities.

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Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tim Matheson, Rob Reiner, Rita Wilson


Rob Reiner ( )


Universal Pictures



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Steven Isaac

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