You Know You Are Watching a Garry Marshall Movie When...

Middlebrow hero

Thou Shalt Be Moved


Marshall's not much of a visual stylist, nor is he a particularly fluid storyteller; he's too eager to get to the really sappy stuff to enjoy the telling (in Beaches, Bette Midler meets, courts, and leaves Spalding Gray in under three screen minutes; in New Year's Eve, he shaves Sarah Jessica Parker's climactic rendezvous down to about 12 seconds). But he will make you feel something. Whether it's when Julia Roberts shows up in that red dress; when Al Pacino, in Frankie and Johnny, lets out a tender orgasmic roar during sex; when Bradley Cooper reveals his secret in Valentine's Day; or when a marching band plays a wedding at the end of the otherwise pandering The Other Sister, he will get to you, whether or not you trust, like, or admit it. The hoarier Marshall's act gets, the more his films feel like remnants of a lost form—risible, yes, but comforting.

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