Romancing the Stone Review

Kathleen Turner stars as a romance adventure novelist who ends up on a romantic adventure of her own in “Romancing the Stone.” Naturally, fans of romance adventures will most enjoy this one, but to its credit there’s a good balance of action to make this film enjoyable for just about everyone.

“Romancing the Stone” is a writer’s fantasy about a writers’ fantasy that comes true. Screenwriter Diane Thomas must’ve been something of a hopeless romantic herself to create Joan Wilder and have her live out a story similar to her books. Wilder is a single woman in her 30s living with her cat who finds out her sister has been kidnapped and that the ransom has been sent to her randomly in the form of a treasure map. Joan flies to Colombia where another man interested in the map sends her off into the jungle instead of straight to her destination where Indiana Jones more or less in the form of Michael Douglas as Jack Colton finds her and helps her begrudgingly.

The film certainly capitalizes on the popularity of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” only targeting itself at women. Joan is a naive and hopeless beauty-in-waiting and Douglas the rebellious adventurer who helps her for initially selfish reasons that turn into romantic ones. Their chemistry is a bit forced, but each fits perfectly into his/her role that we easily approve.

From an action sense, director Robert Zemeckis, in his first major film, keeps the film light but suspenseful enough to keep our interest. Considering the writing calls for cat and mouse the entire time as Joan and Jack run from the corrupt the Colombian police officer Zolo and his men as well as Danny DeVito, a lot hinges on Zemeckis’ creativity to keep the constantly recycling scenes of fleeing from gunfire feel more pressing each time until the climax. He also brings a healthy sense of humor that makes the movie easier to enjoy, knowing that even its maker wants this to be nothing but light-hearted entertainment.

“Romancing” is predictable adventure with even more predictable romance, but Zemeckis finds a way to make it inherently more likable than even Turner or Douglas as talents do. In a film where there would be plenty to role our eyes at, Zemeckis graciously spares us the trouble.

3/5 Stars

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: Diane Thomas
Starring: Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas

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