Owen Gleiberman
January 15, 1993 AT 05:00 AM EST

Used People

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
performer
Shirley MacLaine, Marcello Mastroianni, Kathy Bates, Marcia Gay Harden, Doris Roberts
director
Beeban Kidron
genre
Comedy

We gave it a C

The characters in Beeban Kidron’s feel-good family comedy all drop their one-liners in the same hammy, New York-Jewish, whaddya-want-from- me whine. By the end, these long-suffering misfits have found love — or, at least, themselves. They’ve felt their feelings and discovered how to be well, just a little bit crazy. Shirley MacLaine is the scowling old prune who loses her husband of 37 years and learns to live again, and Marcello Mastroianni is the Italian bon vivant who shows up out of nowhere, oozing Old World charm; he’s about as charming as an infomercial host. MacLaine also has two bickering divorce-victim daughters: Marcia Gay Harden as a spacey sexpot who goes out in public dressed as famous movie characters (e.g., Mrs. Robinson), and Kathy Bates as — surprise — a self-hating fat grouch. Set in the late ’60s so that it seems ”authentic” rather than sitcom-stale, Used People would like to be a Jewish Moonstruck, but it’s more like The Love Boat with classy cinematography. C

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