Cinema: Marital Pulp

Director Frank Perry and his scenarist wife Eleanor have a bad habit of taking important themes and mashing them into pulp. They did it with mental illness (David and Lisa) and youth and violence (Last Summer). Now, with Diary of a Mad Housewife, they have reduced the agonies of middle-class marriage to a snide, skin-deep Cosmopolitan-style short story of social climbing and terribly sophisticated adultery.

Diary's hapless heroine is Tina Balser (Carrie Snodgress) who has a set of hang-ups that might shock Mary Worth. Jonathan, her lawyer husband (Richard Benjamin), is an Ivy League cretin who announces to their children at the...

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