Customer Review

78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars JoBeth Is A Dream, June 28, 2000
This review is from: American Dreamer [VHS] (VHS Tape)
An exuberant wife and mother of two, with a flair for the written word finds adventure in "American Dreamer," a comedy from director Rick Rosenthal. Cathy Palmer (JoBeth Williams) enters a writing contest (two-thousand words written in the style of the famous "Rebecca Ryan" adventure-thriller series) and wins a week-long trip for two to Paris, France, to attend a luncheon to be given in her honor. When her patronizing husband, Kevin (James Staley) refuses to go (too much work at the office), and forbids her to go, as well, she asserts herself, finds a sitter for her two boys and goes anyway. While taking in some of the sights of Paris on her way to the luncheon, she is hit by a car and bashes her head on the pavement. When she awakens in the hospital, she thinks she is Rebecca Ryan, and her real adventures begin in earnest. First, a new wardrobe, charged to the hotel in which "Rebecca" resides. Actually, it's the home of Alan McMann (Tom Conti), son of Margaret McMann (Coral Browne), the author of the "Ryan" series. When Cathy shows up at Alan's as Rebecca, he takes it as a joke being played on him by one of his friends, and goes along with it. And very quickly, he wishes he hadn't; before he knows it, they're up to their necks in intrigue, involving political machinations and heads of state from a number of different countries. Not to worry, though, "Rebecca Ryan" is on the case. It's all a flight of fancy, played with gusto by the delightful JoBeth Williams. Her Cathy is the dutiful wife and mother, not necessarily demure, but cautious; when Rebecca takes over, however, she lets go without restraint. Rebecca comes on with both barrels, spunky and full of moxie, and Williams sells it completely, playing perfectly off of Conti's initially bemused, then confused, and ultimately alarmed Alan. Their timing is right on the money, and Rosenthal never lets it slow down; for this kind of story to work, it has to move fast, and it has to stay fun, and on both fronts Rosenthal succeeds. The story itself may lack some plausibility, but it doesn't make any difference; just suspend any disbelief for awhile, and go with it, because this movie is just what it's supposed to be: Entertaining and funny. And, it doesn't hurt that Williams sprinkles it all with charm. There's some memorable scenes here, including one in which Rebecca, at a party for some dignitaries, whispers what turns out to be a secret code to Don Carlos (Jean Rougerie), an ambassador from Spain, the consequences of which are hilarious. The supporting cast includes Giancarlo Giannini (Victor), Pierre Santini (Inspector Klaus), Leon Zitrone (Ivan), Christopher Daniel Barnes (Kevin, Jr.) and Huckleberry Fox (Karl). "American Dreamer" is light, breezy fare; it's well made and delivered with plenty of fun, thanks mostly to Williams, with an able and noteworthy assist from both Conti and Rosenthal. This may not be a classic, but for an evenings entertainment, this will aptly fill the bill. Moreover, it's one you're going to want to watch more than once, because it's fun, and it's going to leave you with a smile on your face. And, when you think about it, that's not a bad bargain in today's world.
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