Bette Midler and Woody Allen make such a perfectly odd couple that casting them together in Scenes From a Mall, a marital seriocomedy, seems inspired. Sending them to a crowded mall for some private moments is a pretty good idea too. Yet director-cowriter Paul Mazursky hasn’t done much with his cast and material beyond just letting them wander around.
The two stars play happily married L.A. professionals (she’s a shrink, he’s a lawyer) who discover they aren’t so happy during a day at the mall on their 16th wedding anniversary. Surrounded by shoppers, they exchange confessions of adultery, break up, make up — then do it all again. But as the story starts repeating itself, the sharp dialogue stops. The result is a prolonged vignette that pales beside his other marriage-and-modern-life movies such as ”Down and Out in Beverly Hills.” C+