Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A Perfect Couple


Paul Dooley is an underrated actor that I’ve always like. He seldom gets to star in a movie but is always good in supporting parts. Here, he is the lead, along with Marta Heflin, who looks like Miss Anoxia Nervosa of 1978. She is a member of a rock band dominated by a little Hitler leader. He is in the antiques business with his family, dominated by an old Greek Hitler of a grandfather. They meet through a video dating service and go to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, where it rains like it did on Noah. His car malfunctions; the sun roof opens and won’t close. It is the ultimate disaster of a date. But he seems to think that being domineering is the way to her heart. He won’t take no for an answer. And it apparently works. This odd couple keep seeing each other, though he can’t really stand her music. When he, a forty-something guy, is discovered with her in bed by her family, Gramps calls her a whore and he is such a wimp that he doesn’t defend her. But in spite of it all they get together again after he is drummed out of the family for missing the death and funeral of his beloved sister. They go to another concert at the Bowl, where the rock band plays in front of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and everything seems hunky-dory.

I just didn’t buy it. Maybe that last part was meant to be a dream? Because I can’t imagine the two groups performing together. And I can’t see the relationship between these two lasting very long. I was puzzled by the band, too. There were no less than five lead singers. Each gets a solo or two in the course of the movie. I think that lead singers tend to have large egos and small tolerance for competition. It turns out this band, Keepin’ ‘Em Off the Streets, already existed before the movie. It was a bunch of actors who could also sing and play. Music is very important in many Altman films, and this one was structured around the band.