Cinema: Good Intentions, Bad Film

Something's wrong with Kevin Spacey's face. At first you think it's just a case of bad lighting. But soon you realize this is scar tissue--not enough to turn him into a grotesque, but plenty to explain why his Eugene Simonet, a junior high social-science teacher, is prissy, overintellectual and socially withdrawn.

He is, of course, a victim of the Joan Crawford syndrome: messed up, but as curable, psychologically speaking, as the scarred stars of ancient weepies always were. Like them, he just needs to be loved. And Arlene McKinney (Helen Hunt) is the girl to do it. She, naturally, has...

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