Tag Archives: The Apartment

The Great, Unmade Michelle Pfeiffer Comedy: Mint Juleps in Montauk

New York, 1969. Doctor Jack Sheldrake (George Clooney) is having an extramarital affair with Maggie (Meg Ryan). This might be shocking if he was actually married. In truth, he only tells girls he’s married to avoid commitment.
Believing he’s finally chosen to say with his wife rather than move in with her, Maggie decides to commit suicide, only to be saved by her neighbour, French playwright Anton (Kevin Kline).
When Sheldrake then changes his mind and decides to ask Maggie to marry him, she agrees on one condition – she must meet his first wife.
Enter Miss Olson (Michelle Pfeiffer), Dr. Sheldrake’s assistant nurse who has harboured a secret crush on her boss for years. Convincing her to play the part of his erstwhile wife to placate Maggie only complicates matters all the more.
Screwball comedy lives and dies on its performances and thankfully Clooney, Kline and Ryan make Lawrence Kasdan’s 1997 comedy of errors come to life, with Michelle Pfeiffer moving between them with absolute serenity.
A reimagining of The Apartment, with a setup that could only work in a fictionalised cinematic Utopia, Mint Juleps in Montauk is worth watching, if only for its gorgeous black and white cinematography and its leading ladies.
Meg Ryan may well be the best in show. She has the Greenwich Village flower child down-pat, with those gorgeous, giant expressive eyes doing some amazing heavy-lifting. But I would also urge you to marvel at Michelle, who showed that she was as adept at screwball comedy as she was at romantic classicism.
In a fabulous musical interlude, drunk with adoration (and a brace of bourbon Manhattans) Miss Olsen sashays onto the stage of jazz club The Slipped Disc, to serenade the object of her affection. Much to the chagrin of Maggie.
Watching Ryan’s eyes pop out of their sockets as Michelle casts off her coat and trademark beret, to let her hair down over a fabulous black dress, is an amazing moment, one that speaks to the sensuality of Pfeiffer’s performance.
It won’t exactly come as a surprise to reveal that Michelle ends up with George at fade out time, while Meg and Kevin Kline have to make do with each other. Spoilers aside, I’d still recommend this Clooney-Pfeiffer-Ryan joyride. For, why settle for a sorry second when you can have first class screwball amusement.

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