Murphy’s Romance (1985)

murphys romance 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Love blossoms in desert.

Emma (Sally Field) is a divorced mother with teenage son Jake (Corey Haim) who moves to a small Arizona town and try to singlehandedly start up a horse ranch. Once there she meets Murphy (James Garner) an older gentleman who she starts to have feelings for only to have her ex-husband Bobby Jack (Brian Kerwin) show up and try to rekindle their relationship.

This is a very leisurely paced romantic movie that doesn’t add anything new to the genre, but does end up going down like a cold drink on a hot afternoon. The dialogue is snappy and the wrap-up quite pleasing. It keeps things on a realistic level by showing Emma struggling with a lot of chores and financial constraints and thus making it perfectly relatable to those who have moved and tried to start over. It is also nice to see Haim when he was still a cute kid and before he became the 80’s poster boy for trouble child stars. Unlike other romantic comedies there is no one moment that is particularly funny or engaging however the scene involving Bobby Jack and Murphy fighting over Emma during a country dance party is amusing.

On the negative side it tends to be too formulaic. It only gets interesting when the ex-husband arrives, but then the film plays this scenario out in much too obvious a fashion. It would have been better had the ex-husband not been such a prototypical jerk and there had been more conflict and intrigue as to who she would end up choosing.

There is also a scene where Bobby Jack tackles Emma into a mound of hay in an effort to rekindle some of their old passion, but Emma ends up becoming allergic to the hay. Although this was clearly done for obvious laughs it doesn’t seem too believable. This is a woman, who by her own admission, has been working with hay and horses since she was child so this affliction would have become apparent long before then or at least during the several hours that it is shown where they are shoveling it into the stalls. It is possible that she was only faking this reaction in order to get away from him, but if that were the case then it should have been made more clear to the viewer

This is tailor made for the romantic diehards and they should enjoy it even though others may find it only passable.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released:  December 25, 1985

Runtime:  1Hour 47Minutes

Rated PG-13

Director: Martin Ritt

Studio: Columbia

Available: VHS, D VD, Amazon Instant Video

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