Two far-apart married couples in Montreal, a middle-aged one composed of a randy handyman and a boozy former B-movie actress (Nick Nolte, Julie Christie) and a yuppie one composed of a sexually ambiguous workaholic and a child-craving housewife (Jonny Lee Miller, Lara Flynn Boyle), switch partners through the sheerest coincidence for some amorous dalliance during the younger woman's red-letter days of ovulation. The older couple, it comes out eventually, have a full-grown daughter who ran away from their Hollywood home eight years earlier, leaving only a Montreal postmark as a clue to her whereabouts. Devotees of Alan Rudolph's light-headed, shuffle-footed, anemic romanticism -- of his synthetic characters and situations, his suffocatingly chic décor and ambience, his drizzly mood music -- will likely be undeterred. New converts will likely be few. The one dependable source of amusement is Nolte's lion-mane hair, teased out around his ravaged face in the clinging-to-youth style of one (or more) of the Rolling Stones. 1997.

Duncan Shepherd

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