Unfunny 'Smile' giggles at emptiness of infertility

THE BALTIMORE SUN

On paper, infertility would seem a distasteful subject matter for light comedy. On screen, it only gets worse.

"A Smile Like Yours," featuring a terminally bland Greg Kinnear and a too precious Lauren Holly (both in "Sabrina"), is a massive miscalculation. The humor, straight out of a junior-high sex education class, is adolescent in its mockery of the truly embarrassing and painful procedures infertile couples endure. What could be funnier?

Kinnear is Danny Robertson, the owner of a small construction company, and Holly is his wife, Jennifer, who sells perfumes as aroma-therapy.

They are meant to be adorable together, enjoying spontaneous sex everywhere from construction sites to Candlestick Park. If you knew them, you couldn't stomach them for five minutes.

That pretty much holds for this movie, too.

Jennifer has been unable to get pregnant and, for reasons that are never clear, designs a subterfuge to get Danny to go to a fertility clinic. Much of the film occurs at the clinic, which is peopled with those who delight in humiliating childless couples.

The film thrusts temptations before both Danny and Jennifer, leading to a wholly contrived separation and insipid reunion after both have learned a platitudinous lesson about honesty. It ends predictably but in a manner sure to anger any couples who have wrestled with infertility.

Aside from "Smile's" casual offensiveness, the film should reopen questions about the perplexing direction of Kinnear's film career.

He first gained attention as the smirky, bad-boy host of the E! channel's "Talk Soup," a scoffing look at TV talk shows. As soon as Hollywood got him -- presto, change-o -- he became Wonder-Bread, pleasant, wholesome, boring.

Kinnear better schedule some time to hang out with Quentin Tarantino before he turns into Pat Boone.

'A Smile Like Yours'

Starring Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly

Directed by Keith Samples

Released by Paramount Pictures

Rated R (language and sexual innuendo)

Sun score: *

Pub Date: 8/22/97

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