'LAST MARRIED COUPLE IN AMERICA'
Big-screen sit-co falls flat
The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, February 12, 1980--Page 7
By J. T. SCANLAN
OWe've all grown accustomed in
recent years to the fact that television
will never tire of presenting the many
supposedly wondrous, aspects of
Southern Californian culture. The
plastic grace with which, say, Eric
Estrada of CHiPs and Farrah Fawcett-
Majors, late of Charlie's Angels, move
about in the milieu of L.A. life will
never cease, producers apparently
think, to fascinate us. Unfortunately,
e depiction of this world often flattens
hat little other value there is to such
But television, after all, is essentially
free entertainment. When we go to the
movies-especially at $3.50 a
ticket-we expect something more. The
Last Married Couple in America does
not give it to us.,
THE OBJECT OF the movie is to
poke fun at the-modern conception of
arriage and the whole of Southern
Walifnornian culture. George Segal and
Natalie Wood play two middle-aged but
well-preserved sophisticates who have
trouble sticking to the traditional
dotions of love and sex upon which their
marriage is based.
They see the marriages of their best
freinds fall apart one by one. A problem
concerning the natural act is usually to
blame, and nicknames such as "quick-
draw" are tossed about in genteel con-'
*ersation without hesitation. And 'as
one might expect, there is much talk
abo t psychiatrists and therapists.
THEREPARTEE of the modish
characters is as familiar and artificial
as their dress. One middle-aged man is
supremely content to ride around in a
Jaguar XJ-12 clad in a gray, Stanford
sweatshirt, with the collar and cuffs of
a designer shirt adorning his neck and
wrists. A perfectly coiffed
"perm"-with a few grey curls at the
temples-adds to his overall style.
And of course we get what we are
perhaps unconsciously waiting for: the
inevitable scene with people on roller
About midway through the movie, all
of this becomes very boring. There are
a few good bawdy jokes, most of which
have to dowoth either the size, shape,
firmness, or tightness of the instrumen-
ts of love. But most seem, well, rather
flat. The moral confusion of Segal is, by
the middle of the film, no longer funny.
He's too predictable. He is reminiscent
of Wally Cleaver when confronted with
the questionable ethics of Eddie Haskel
in "Leave It To Beaver."
BUT JEFF is not above extra-
maritial adventure. We soon see him
engage in just one sportive trick, which,
alas, infects him with what
Shakespeare called "the French
disease." So much for the last married
couple in America.
At least for the moment.
The principal characters go through
their familiar paces as they work
toward the obvious happy ending. Segal
and Wood are ramatically tapped out,
and offer weak performances as the
The ending is not so much a logical
ponclusion as a halt to self-indulgent
foolishness. In light of what has oc-
cupied the screen for an hour and a
half. it's hard to welcome the abrupt
ending. And there are even a few funny
lines in the last minute of two that un-
dercut the overly-contrived plot.
THE SECONDARY characters help
to redeem the movie. Valerie Harper is
fine as the mischievous femme fatale
whom Jeff regrets having loved.
Dom DeLuise is also funny as one of
Jeff's old high school chums who, being
able to land only a bit part in "Charlie's
Angels," turns with delight to making
porno films. Among the allusions to his
lengthy manhood is his- last name.
Holmes-the name of a porno star
noted for his noble appendage. But the
best minor role is that of "the swinger
from San Diego." His impassioned
story of how he became "one with the
universe" jthrough conmunal sexual
relations is outstanding, though unfor-
Like 10, The Last Married Couple in
America sinks itself too much in
Southern Californian culture. 10 at
least, offers the anatomical charms of
Bo Derek and a fantastic score. Aside
from a few good scenes, The Last
Married Couple In America offers little
more than does a jiggly, sit-com on
.avoid fighting legally
(Continued from Page 1)
haven't developed the writing skills
needed to effectively present their case.
We must make sure they're taken care
of as well."
GIVEN THE complexity of the
application, DeVarti stressed that
simply providing information does not
Solve the problem. "The questions are
hard to answer to a degree that
convinces the draft board," he said.
"You'd have a hard time unless you
have an education."
DeVarti advses potential COs to
begin planning their statements now.
"Thirnk of groups and organizations
you've been in, people you've talked to,
family influences-anything that
reinforces your beliefs," he said.
Filling out a card for PIRGIM to file
s a good place to start, DeVarti said.
"Although it won't work by itself, you
can point to it as a specific action
showing your beliefs," he said.
ANYONE WHO- feels that his past
may not offer enough evidence of
objection should get involved with anti-
war groups as soon as possible,
according to DeVarti. "Make contact
now," he urged. "It can help you to
clarify your own beliefs and would
1upport a CO claim in the future."
Jennifer Bardwick of the Committee
Against the War Drive agreed.
"Everthing helps," she said, "and that
sort of thing is very accessible."
Bardwick recommended that all
applicanits seek the advice of a draft
counselor when framing the actual
statement. "They have experience in
answering the questions," she said.
IF DRAFTED, a CO should have an
idea for alternative service, Bardwick
said. "People can usually choose their
*wn jobs. The board will accept
anything reasonable." Many COs
worked at hospitals during the Vietnam
War, she said.
Brayton Harris, assistant director of
the Selective Service System in
Washington, D.C., said that draft
classification might be implemented if
the international political situation
were to worsen. At that point, COs
would have to submit their
If there is a draft, there will be no
student deferments, according to
Harris. "The law was changed in 1971
because student deferments were
widely abused," he said.
"THE DRAFT ishould be equitable,"
he added. "It shouldn't matter if you're
rich, poor, smart, or dumb."
Under the 1971 law, drafted college
students will be allowed only to finish
the term for which they are then
*nrolled, though seniors will be allowed.
to gradaute. High school students will
be allowed to continue until they
graduate or reach age 20.
Harris stressed that conscientious
objection "means waht it says. It is not
a way to avoid serving the country. It is
a way to avoid what some feel to be the
distasteful burden of bearing arms," he
ED PURO, a sophomore in the
Residential College, disagrees with the
draft but would not apply as a CO.
"There are some wars I'd fight," he
said. "It's not realistic to say you won't
fight in any war."
"I don't think conscientious objection
serves much of a purpose," Puro said.,
"You're not helping anyone else."
Puro would fight if the Soviet
involvement in Afghanistan drew the
United States into war. "It would be a
necessary war. It's hard to say if any
war is just, but there are different
degrees of necessity," he said.
PURO CALLS himself a selective
objector, meaning one who objects to
fighting in general and to the draft, but
would fight in certain wars. Selective
objectors are not eligible for
deferments under present law.
Those who feel that becoming a CO
endorses the system,/and would prefer
not to, have alternatives: refusing to
register, registering but refusing
induction, and leaving the country.
These choices; though, are illegal.
Robert Bail of Ann Arbor tried the
latter two during Vietnam.
"I didn't want a student deferment
because I thought the whole draft was
unjust," Ball said. "I went to Toronto. I
liked it and could have stayed, but I
decided my life was back here. I still
belonged here even though I knew I
might end up in jail."
After returning to his home in
Wisconsin, Ball was convicted of draft
resistance. But an appeals court
overturned the ruling.
"If you were willing to pay a good
lawyer, you could get through without
fail, except for rare exceptions," Ball
Despite his successful appeal, Ball
has a warning for those thinking of
avoiding the draft. "Even if you evade,
you won't feel good about it," he said.
"There's someone else going in your
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