Main cast: Bruce Willis (Ben Jordan), Michelle Pfeiffer (Katie Jordan), Rita Wilson (Rachel Krogan), Rob Reiner (Stan Krogan), Julie Hagerty (Liza), Tim Matheson (Marty), Lucy Webb (Joanie Kirby), Bill Kirchenbauer (Eddie Kirby), Red Buttons (Arnie Jordan), Jayne Meadows (Dot), Tom Poston (Harry), and Betty White (Lillian Jordan)
Director: Rob Reiner
I know this movie is on shaky grounds when the most fascinating thing about The Story of Us is Bruce Willis’s ghastly toupee. Despite two good lead actors, the script is painfully derivative to be effective.
Katie and Ben Jordan have been married for 15 years, have two kids, and all in all a picture of a great, wholesome all-American family. He loves his kids, she adores them, they actually talk during dinner. But beneath the façade, they can’t stand one another. The tolls of post-honeymoon life have wrung out of Katie all the vivacity she once has, and she starts to resent her husband for his inability to take responsibility and charge of the family. It’s always her who has to be Ms Responsibility. For Ben, he can’t understand why his wife is no longer the woman he married. He can’t understand why she won’t talk to him and instead treats him like an enemy. They scream, shout, bicker, and finally, when the kids are safely off to Summer Camp, separate.
Married couple could identify while some aspects of this movie. Trust me, anyone who has been through rocky times would sometimes smile, squirm in guilt, or wince when Ben and Katie exchange hostile exchanges that sound familiar. However, unlike real life, this movie generalizes too much, offers too many easy solutions, and the ending is somewhat rushed. Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis more often than not overact, screaming and banging doors in a manner more dramatic and showy than anything else. Likewise, the script offers the usual and predictable she-gets-a-potential-new-flame subplot that goes nowhere. The two Jordan kids are stock cute Hollywood brat material. Hence, The Story of Us is bland.
The secondary characters are more interesting. Paul Reiser plays Ben’s agent and buddy who has some great lines about the battle of the sexes. He says to Ben at one point that people are living lives that are less than ideal and certainly stressful, so why should they buy Ben’s story about his grandmother. May I rephrase it to why should I bother about this thirtysomething-lite piece of Hollywood sentimentality?