Two in Play arrived in the midst of a career slump for Michelle Pfeiffer. A string of poorly received vanity projects causing her to return to crowd-pleasing comedy, headlining a Coen brother’s film based on a Donald Westlake novel. Unfortunately for Pfeiffer, all the talk surrounding the film’s release was of her co-stars George Clooney and Meg Ryan, who fell into real-life love on the set.In Two in Play, Clooney plays a duplicitous art dealer named Al Avelino, whose gallery has fallen on hard times. With the wolves circling, he’s reduced to playing cons on rich widows. One such con lands him in the clutches of Rita Bettencourt (Meg Ryan), a Manhattan socialite who is the muse of notorious, ponytailed mobster Gino Felino (Joe Pesci). It’s Al’s bad luck to find the insanely jealous Felino in-situ when he calls on Rita one day. Seeing through Al’s caper the Don orders his goons to whack the fraudster. Al runs for his life, and is rescued in the nick of time by an angel. It’s Rita, in a white Rolls Royce convertible. The two hit it off instantly, and are soon making extravagant plans for their no exit nuptials.Al is happy to marry Rita, who is sexy and ridiculously rich, until he meets her more beautiful, less ostentatious sister Liz (Michelle Pfeiffer). Liz wins his love in a heartbeat. Forced to play both sides of the ball with these splendorous siblings, Al, in the best traditions of screwball comedy, dons black rimmed glasses, adopts a ludicrous accent and invents a twin brother, Sal, who has supposedly jetted into The Big Apple from Italy, to work his magic on lonely, lovelorn Liz.Al/Sal’s situation becomes more perilous as the wedding day gets closer, his liaisons with Liz arouse the suspicions of Rita, and the threats from Pesci and his heavies grow more and more menacing. The elements are all here for a quintessential screwball comedy, but sadly the set-up is too ridiculous to be credible. Liz, the character played by Pfeiffer, is obviously more intelligent than the sister played by Meg, and it is simply not possible to believe she would be taken in by the deception. Clooney and the Coens imitate their betters and fail.Even though Michelle Pfeiffer was given top billing, Two in Play actually stands as a true Meg Ryan movie. Meg is just so much fun to watch here, as she swaggers into the frame with her garish lipstick, leopard print outfits and bodacious Betty Boop voice. By comparison, Pfeiffer is far more understated. After a jaw-dropping entrance, she’s repeatedly reduced to playing the straight man to Ryan. All of Two in Play’s best moments revolve around Meg, as she gives a classic screwball comedy performance deserving of a much finer film.