The Story of Us
is about the fear of potential separation most marriages are supposed to experience. Personalities clash; identities blur; responsibilities weigh heavy. This, then, is an exploration of the Jordans, an average American couple who can't find any reason to stay together after 15 years. Once you get past the star power of Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer, there's a terrifically pithy script working for them that effectively manages to juggle the genre crossover of a comedy-drama. Several montages cover years of petty squabbling, raising two kids, and long silences. There are confessions to camera about who picked what fight, and flashbacks to time spent offloading with friends. These provide the comedic backbone, with director Rob Reiner hogging the best lines. The best gag and narrative device is a bedroom scene following a therapist's revelation that every couple goes to bed with their parents' way of thinking rattling around in their minds. Sure enough, the super-wide bed shows all six in hilarious fashion. Despite the general paranoid atmosphere that everyone's doomed, you can rest assured that the guy who brought you When Harry Met Sally
allows optimism to prevail.
On the DVD: Reiner's commentary is a little sporadic, but like the great stand-up comic he always seems to be, each comment is priceless. He explains how he hates acting, yet can't help himself. A 20-minute documentary interviews all the cast and also composer Eric Clapton, and they all give their pessimistic views on why relationships break down. Willis is in fine form telling us that it was "so much more challenging than running down a street with a gun and shouting"! The widescreen presentation is crisp, as is the 5.1 sound. One trailer rounds out the package. --Paul Tonks