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Something Short of Paradise

Something Short of Paradise (1979)

September. 14,1979
| Drama Comedy Romance

A young couple in New York are having problems with their relationship.


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Best movie ever!


A lot of fun.


Simple and well acted, it has tension enough to knot the stomach.


As somebody who had not heard any of this before, it became a curious phenomenon to sit and watch a film and slowly have the realities begin to click into place.


Blah romance has Susan Sarandon as a strength but is almost completely derailed by Steinberg. Not only does he have the screen charisma of a lemming the character he plays is an annoying jerk. The viewer could care less about whether the main couple get together which is fatal to this kind of film.Susan at this point was a rising actress, her big breakthrough came with her next film-Atlantic City, so she was working her way up playing whatever leads presented themselves which would explain her presence here but what about David Steinberg. Whoever thought he could make it as a leading man? His line readings lack inflection and his facial and body language are dull.Unless you're curious to see the young Susan Sarandon there are many much better films in this genre.


SPOILER ALERT The something short refers to David Steinberg, who is visibly shorter than Susan Sarandon. He comes up short in the physical appearance dept., but insists on more screen time, in his undies and hairy shoulders, Richard Nixon five o'clock shadow, etc. than Susan. He also comes up short in the personality dept., coming across as petulant and rude, e.g. throwing food and drinks, picking fights, etc. Susan gamely feigns interest in David, but in reality this grim mischkeit would be invisible to her, unless he had a power job in entertainment or billions of dollars. In reality, he would be lucky to get the hideous second female lead, let alone Susan. The romantic comedy, often defined as a comedy without jokes, grinds through ancient cute moments, painfully contrived situations, etc. Of all the frogs Susan had to kiss, this had to be the worst. Could have been saved if Susan had peeled off more clothing, but even this notorious bleeding heart liberal had to draw the line somewhere. Avoid at all costs, unless you enjoy watching a beautiful woman pretending to be attracted to a whiny nerd. BC


American-International Pictures sure tried to make this ANNIE HALL-inspired movie they picked up to distribute come across like the real Woody Allen movie in their advertising campaign; the poster for the movie depicted Steinberg in glasses and Sarandon with her hair tucked under a boyish cap - even though they only appear as such for a brief time in the movie, the rest of the time with the glasses and cap missing! It also makes the movie appear to be about a shy and somewhat nerdy man falling in love with a misfit woman. Instead, it's about a more confident and successful guy falling in love with a woman who is more normal in her behavior than you'd think.I wish they had made the movie that the advertising seemed to be suggesting. You can't warm up to the characters in this movie at all. Sarandon does okay, but her character's written to have some perplexing and frustrating ways of thinking and reacting. Still, she's a lot easier to take than Steinberg; his character and his performance are both utterly obnoxious, with his constant aggressive pursuit of Sarandon and seemingly indifference for the emotional baggage she is still carrying from her previous relationship. No doubt A.I.P. picked up this movie in one of their attempts to become more mainstream, which they were inching towards in their last years. The tone in this case may have been a step forward, but they also took some steps back with some surprisingly tacky production values. The movie is visually dull, with a look and editing style that seems more fitting for a television movie of the time. (Only the occasional rude word betrays its theatrical origin.) If you get bored (actually, you WILL get bored), make a game by trying to count how many times you can see the boom mike or its shadow.


I love David Steinberg AND Susan Sarandon. Not sure if he has made any other movies. Basically, he's a film promoter and she's a film reporter, and they have an angst ridden affair spoiled by a her previous love affair gone sour. Kept my attention the whole time except at the end. Had much more potential for comedy but never really rose above OK. Seems neither he nor she got a chance to really stretch. Still, would recommend.