Jack Lemmon looks tired and unappealing in this cynical and grubby film about the torturous relationship between bail bondsman Alex and Maritza – a gypsy woman accused of attempted murder.
They first met, we discover, several years ago when she fled from a gypsy wedding and leapt into Lemmon’s beat-up old convertible. She was fed up; this was the third time her father had attempted to sell her in marriage.
Lemmon drove her home, they fell in love (or something) and she moved in. For three months.
Then she left, and Lemmon went back to making bail, and she lived with a series of other men before finally stabbing one of them with a kitchen knife. As the movie opens, she’s in jail – and she needs a bail bondsman.
After Lemmon bails her out, we get a series of flashbacks designed to shed light on their relationship. What they mostly do is shed light on the film’s disorganisation.
There are fragments of memories that don’t seem to fit – There’s a scene at a Greek picnic that’s apparently in the film only to give Miss Bujold the chance to do a Greek dance; There are conversations between Lemmon and Bujold in which neither one seems to be listening to what the other’s saying.
The pair scream a lot, fight a lot, and roam about the countryside. It’s all a rather numbing experience.
Lemmon has invested $30,000 in the girl’s bond; if she skips town, he’s broke. And so he refuses to trust her. He handcuffs her to beds, locks her in rooms, has her bang on a pipe every so often so he knows she’s there. She keeps wandering off – not so much to escape as to bug him.
And their life is further complicated by the hapless Crainpool (James Woods), Lemmon’s office assistant.
Joseph X Flaherty