A retarded romantic comedy -- er, romantic comedy for the retarded -- er, romantic comedy about the retarded, and yes, for them in a way, after all. Juliette Lewis and Giovanni Ribisi, playing a couple of self-motivated mental defectives who find one another among the mere mental indolents of Bay Area Polytechnic, have obviously studied and practiced very hard in order to mimic the appropriate speech patterns and body postures. But the solicited tolerance and compassion of the audience are perhaps a little outbalanced by misgivings over the fitness of such a spectacle for light entertainment. (We are as often invited to laugh at the couple as with them.) At the same time, the displayed tolerance and compassion of director Garry Marshall, an obsequious crowd-pleaser his entire career, appears to extend only as far as, and no farther than, the magnanimous view that the mentally handicapped deserve to live their lives accompanied by the same quotas of papier-mâché obstacles, greased wheels, pat solutions, pop songs, and punch lines ("I wonder who thought up sex in the first place, Daniel." "I think it was Madonna, actually") as any normal screen couple. With Diane Keaton, Tom Skerritt, Juliet Mills, Hector Elizondo. (1999) — Duncan Shepherd
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