Bed of Roses

on January 26, 1996 by Christine James
You are a successful female executive with no life outside of work and only a shallow, lunkheaded boyfriend as your sole source of distraction. Your abusive adoptive father has finally died, but unfortunately your pet fish has picked the same day to breathe its last. Catharsis forces itself upon you, and you weep at your window. An amazingly sensitive, warm, intelligent, giving, handsome and, as it turns out, wealthy man espies your sorrow and sends you an exquisite floral arrangement, then pursues romance. What do you do? Run away, of course!
At least, that would be your course of action if you were Lisa (Mary Stuart Masterson), the rose and romance recipient in "Bed of Roses." It's revealed that she was abandoned as an infant, then molested by her caretaker. This is used as the story's conflict, as it causes her to flee from Lewis (Christian Slater) despite the fact that Lisa realizes he is the ideal man and would never hurt her. The strange thing is, Lisa's rape by her guardian didn't cause any wariness toward sexual intimacy; what throws her over the edge is a visit with Lewis' large, loving family. Lisa feels out of place and is jealous of Lewis' stable childhood. But this is not a dilemma that would make you break up with a storybook-perfect lover. Because Lisa's hesitation is the only obstacle to the couple's life-long happiness, and because it's unwarranted and unbelievable, the film is an exercise in frustration.
Also, although Lewis' positive attributes are inhumanly abundant, there's not a lot about Lisa that is especially appealing, which compounds the aggravation with her failure to answer opportunity's knock. Women with a penchant for day-dreaming will love Slater's performance as the impossibly thoughtful and chivalrous Lewis, but one cannot help but become fed up with Lisa at the very moment she's supposed to be eliciting sympathy. Pamela Segall is fun as Lisa's wry friend Kim, who perhaps would have been a more interesting leading-lady character. Still, this well-intentioned first-time effort from writer/director Michael Goldenberg has its moments, including a touching montage in which Lisa and Lewis spend a day delivering flowers to people to see their delighted reactions. Starring Christian Slater, Mary Stuart Masterson and Pamela Segall. Directed and written by Michael Goldenberg. Produced by Allan Mindel and Denise Shaw. A New Line release. Romance. Rated PG-13 for mild language and thematic elements. Running time: 87 min.
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