In a time when so much of what comes out of Hollywood focuses on nastiness and lower-than-life characters, it might seem an odd criticism to say a movie's problem is that it is too nice.
But that's exactly the problem with a slight romance called "Bed of Roses." If you knew the characters played by Mary Stuart Masterson and Christian Slater, you would want to get them together. "They're so nice, they're perfect for each other," you would say.
That's nice, but it's not drama.
Everything in the world of these two people seems to be nice, too. Nobody has a selfish motive. Although she carries a gun, Masterson's character is confident enough to track down and confront a man who may be stalking her, but then she immediately accepts his explanation and spends the day with him.
In this Freudian paradise, there is no evil, just people trying to overcome tragedy in their pasts. But when conflict arises, it seems so easily solved - even phony - that the outcome is never in doubt.
Masterson plays Lisa Walker, a New York workaholic investment executive with no time for romance. She has been saddened by the death of the man who raised her, and who was the closest thing to a family she ever had.
Lisa gets a beautiful bouquet of flowers at work one day. They are delivered by a young man named Lewis Farrell (Slater), who refuses to tell her who sent them. She's persistent, though, and she finds out that Lewis had seen her grieving at her window, was touched and, being a florist, decided to say it with flowers.
These two people could not be more opposite, but the career-driven orphan is immediately attracted to the grieving widower, who has a supportive family and is definitely a stop-and-smell-the-flowers kind of guy. A manufactured crisis soon follows.
"Bed of Roses" - written by its first time director, Michael Goldenberg - isn't really big-screen material. The two stars are appealing and sympathetic enough for us to work up just enough interest in whether or not they get together. But even at barely an hour and 20 minutes, this is definitely grist for the wait-for-the-video mill. "Bed of Roses" ewould be a perfect junior high girl's romantic fantasy - except for the relative quickness in which these two supposedly shy, hurting people hop in the sack. The script is filled with movie situations and movie dialogue, and there even is a supporting character (played by Pamela Segall) who is the standard movie Jewish-and-funny best friend.
If you find lines like "I wish I could give you part of myself, but that's not something I have in my possession right now" profound, you may like "Bed of Roses" a lot. The rest of you who seek a sweet, terrific romance with a high "Awww" factor should rent (or re-rent) Slater's earlier "Untamed Heart" instead.