The Mirror has two Faces

This must be the ultimate film about safe sex because practically nothing ever happens. From the hallowed halls of Columbia to the buzzing floors of Bloomingdale's, this film is Lubitsch without the touch. The Star of 'Shtick' shuffles through her role and develops from a love-me-cause-I'm-just-a-big-little-girl-even-if- I'm-not-pretty member of the academic intelligentsia into a frustrated-woman-falling-in-love-with-her-marriage-by-agreement- husband-who-won't-do-it-to-it butterfly with a feminist tint. In other words, Funny Lady becomes My Fair Lady. As she bears her burdens and expresses herself with a troubled, trembling lower lip, not one crease furrows her brow. And a good thing too, because once she begins an exercise program and diet regimen, as well as spending time purchasing a new wardrobe to go along with her fresh hair color, she wouldn't have had any time left to deal with wrinkles.

From the asinine university lecture, during which she reveals her personal insights into love (if you stay long enough to hear them), to the tortured private moments within the confines of her bathroom, one is constantly prodded to ask oneself, 'Who cares?' Adolescents, perhaps? Adolescence, definitely.

By the time she inserts Lawrence of Arabia into the VCR, it seems natural to ask if this film is going to be anywhere near the same length. (It certainly seems it.) Or is this some strange inside joke built into the structure of the latest Streisand epic? Remember the famous kiss on the Funny Girl posters at the time (and Omar Sharif is also the star of Lawrence)? Maybe La Streisand regards this film as an updated search for Nicki Arnstein? I think not.

And there are moments that make one wonder whether the intention was serious or comic, like when post-transformation wife sets dinner for homecoming husband while playing instrumental version of You don't know me on CD player. The shortest romantic meal in history, I might add. Once again, nobody got a bite.

Technically proficient as a film director, when all is said and done, it seems that she would be better off directing films with others and letting others direct her. Streisand directing Streisand looks like too much salt in the chicken soup and with only one cook. A secret wish to return to the old star system seems to reveal itself in her epics. For example: Take one diva, add La Bacall, stir in two attractive leading men of ample talent, place in impressive locations, a pinch of good solid actress for comic relief, frame it beautifully and serve. Voila: Sex Comedy Romp-Flop.

I'm only amazed they didn't use star filters for her eyes in the close-ups. It would have made it more humorous every time she complains about not being beautiful.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett