ONCE AROUND Add To My Top 10
Release Date: January 18, 1991
Runtime: Approximately 110 minutes
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Producer: Griffin Dunne
Writer: Maila Scotch Marmo
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The love story concerns a May-December relationship between Renata Bella and Sam Sharp, who approximates Renata's father's age. The two meet at a sales meeting where super salesman Sam looks the epitome of success with his hand-tailored suits and flashy rings.
Renata, by contrast, has just broken off an unpromising relationship and definitely wants marriage. So does her close-knit Italian family in Massachusetts.
Sam turns out to be different from anyone Renata has known. As he sings a forty's hit "Fly Me to the Moon," she exclaims: "You're different from men my age. They don't understand me. You're more like my Dad's generation."
After the convention, they drive to her parents' house in Sam's limo, and along the way, Sam orders his chauffeur to circle a round traffic island several times just for fun (and the film's title).
Sam works his way into Renata's family, and for Joe Bella's birthday (Renata's Dad), he arranges for a belly dancer to entertain him. After a whirlwind courtship, Renata and Sam marry and soon expect a child.
Usually the life of the party, Sam tries to upstage his father-in-law's Italian song at the Bella clan reunion. Mrs. Bella grabs the mike angrily, demanding that he sit down.
Celebrating Christmas after the baby's birth, the Bellas wrangle about the baptism. Soon, Joe informs Renata that Sam is killing their family, and he is not to set foot in their house again. Incensed, Renata rushes out, telling her Father that she won't be back either.
However, the Bellas arrive unexpectedly at the baptism, much to Sam and Renata's delight. During the ceremony, Sam suffers a heart attack, and they rush him to the hospital. Sam lives only a short time, but at his funeral Renata confides to Jan: "Don't feel sorry for me; I've had the greatest time of my life."
Although Dreyfuss and Hunter turn in credible performances and the plot is fairly good, in the final analysis, ONCE AROUND is not convincing. Maybe Sam's behavior is too outrageous, or the film pace is too inconsistent. Nevertheless, the result makes for a mediocre film.
Moreover, the excessive obscenity and profanity throughout the film detract considerably. Most people, Christian or not, simply do not use this type of language. Renata even uses four-letter obscenities with her brother which is particularly offensive. Sam and Renata fornicating in her parents' house also sets an unacceptable example for young people.
The epicurean adage "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die," comes to mind regarding this film. Without Christ, life has no meaning or purpose. Repeatedly in Paul's Epistles, Paul urges believers to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust" (Romans 13:14). Thus, MOVIEGUIDE recommends abstaining from ONCE AROUND.
Although Dreyfuss and Hunter turn in credible performances, in the final analysis, ONCE AROUND is a mediocre film. Moreover, the excessive obscenity and profanity throughout the film detract considerably. Sam and Renata fornicating in her parents' house also sets an unacceptable example for young people