I COULD NEVER HAVE SEX WITH ANY MAN WHO HAS SO LITTLE REGARD FOR MY HUSBAND Directed by ROBERT McCARTY Screenplay by DAN GREENBURG
Where does kitchen kidding leave off and hard-core adultery begin? This movie's refreshing answer: never not if you were born too soon to join an activist cell in the sexual revolution.
The two couples who decide to share a house on Martha's Vineyard one horribly rainy summer are, like a lot of other people in their 30s, anxious not to be considered square. After all, they see the same swingy plays and movies as everyone else; they read the same magazine articles earnestly explaining how the multitudes have abandoned the old taboos. So one from Column A (Carmine Ciardi) and one from Column B (Lynne Lipton) feel a certain social obligation to try mate swapping.
Their spouses (Cynthia Harris and Andrew Duncan) are more hang-backish or hung-uppish. But it is Lynne Lipton who precipitates the movie's sketch-sized dramatic crisis. How, she inquires, can she have an affair with a man whose wife has been such a good sport about losing at strip hide-and-go-seek? Ciardi sulks, then has a mystical experience in which one of the heavenly host informs him that, up there, adultery ranks with crimes like parking in a loading zone. Thus reassured, the couple almost manages to do the fashionable thing only to be defeated by guilt and one of those summer-house couches you cannot even sit on comfortably.
Writer Greenburg is a good-natured humorist whose essays and novels (How to Be a Jewish Mother, Scoring) have demonstrated a shrewd and compassionate eye for the frets and frustrations of middlebrow, middle-class urban America. His first film script is a similarly gentle, knowing throwaway. Director McCarty is careful to make no big deal of it, and his quartet of players is attractively fumble-thumbed in their efforts to have their decorum and shed it too. I Could Never may be the least important certainly the least pretentious movie of the year. But it is far from the least amusing. · R.S.