The Four Seasons

"Very Good"

The Four Seasons Review


Back in the '70s, Alan Alda gained a rep as a "sensitive man," a pro-ERA, Marlo Thomas-loving, abortion-rights-advocating bleeding heart. The Four Seasons, written, directed, and starring Alda at the peak of his M*A*S*H fame, is his feminist apotheosis. This sparkling comedy tracking the travails of three upscale middle-aged couples as they vacation together four times a year (accompanied by a vibrant Vivaldi soundtrack, natch) is told from a distinctly female, and feminist, perspective. Alda is really in touch with his softer side.

Jack and Kate Burroughs (Alda and Carol Burnett), Danny and Claudia Zimmer (Jack Weston and Rita Moreno), and Nick and Anne Callan (Len Cariou and Sandy Dennis) head off for the first of their four annual trips in spring, but it's not going to be a good time. The fragile and seemingly unstable Anne announces that Nick has dumped her and that a divorce is imminent. The women rally around their long-time friend while the men stand back and try to avoid emoting at all.

By the time of a summer yachting excursion in the Virgin Islands, Anne has been replaced by the very young and very beautiful Ginny (Bess Armstrong), who parades around the boat in her bikini, much to the dismay of the still seething Claudia and Kate. While Jack and Danny seem jealous as hell of Nick, the two women take every opportunity to run Ginny down with vicious zingers that really sting. Their anger at Nick turns to hilarity when they can't help but overhear the newlyweds' noisy lovemaking in the crowded confines of the yacht. Giggle fits ensue as the Burroughs and the Zimmers begin to ponder their own mid-life crises.

In the fall, the couples journey to a leafy college campus where a few of their kids are studying. This time around, the comic set piece is a soccer game on the quad, where the not-so-fit men try to outmatch each other in a transparent attempt to impress the cheerleading Ginny. When Jack injures himself, Claudia hasn't a bit of sympathy for him, the big jerk.

When the snow falls, the couples reunite in a claustrophobic snowbound cabin, which, given the group dynamics, is probably not a good idea. All the unsaid insults and unexpressed emotions bubble to the surface and explode in a long scene that's hilarious, furious, and touching all at the same time. It's Ginny who becomes the voice of reason, shredding the other women for their cruelty and vindictiveness and their unwillingness to embrace her in a spirit of sisterhood. As the wisecracking Claudia remarks, "I wonder what other people do on their vacations."

Alda's all-star cast has a ball with his sharp material. Moreno shines brightest, and her interplay with the sad-sack Weston are reminiscent of the classic bickering between Fred and Ethel Mertz. Burnett, too, does a fine job of wrestling with her menopausal demons and taking Alda's Jack to task when he needs it. Never sophomoric and always witty, The Four Seasons is right on the money, especially for viewers who may be edging away from 40 on their way to 50.



The Four Seasons

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd May 1981

Distributed by: MCA Universal Home Video

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Jack Burroughs, as Kate Burroughs, as Nick Callan, as Anne Callan, as Claudia Zimmer, as Danny Zimmer, as Ginny Newley (Callan)

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.