Cinema: Fun Couple or Un Couple?

NADINE

As screenwriter and director, Robert Benton loves odd couples, whether outlaws * (Bonnie and Clyde, Bad Company) or in-laws (Kramer vs. Kramer, Places in the Heart). With Nadine, he blends the two. Vernon Hightower, who owns a bar teetering toward bankruptcy, is a congenital optimist. Nadine, his estranged wife, sees life too clearly to find much hope in it. Cute couple for a caper film -- maybe even a fun couple, game to turn love-hate into love-great and to con the local crooks. Well, no. As played by Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger, they are an "un" couple: unsuitable emotionally,...