Teacher’s Comments: The Big Chill, it ain’t
In The Foursome, four college buddies and their wives meet for the first time in years at a college reunion. The husbands play a couple of rounds of golf, the wives gossip, and they all get drunk at the evening dances. Most of the movie takes place on the golf course, where the guys catch up on their lives since last they met. An out of control bet on the match provides a bit of dramatic tension.
The characters are pretty stock. There’s the millionaire with the trophy wife, the salesman with a stale marriage, the guy who never grew up and never married, and the fat goofy guy. Of the group, only the goofy guy was original—he and his wife have an overactive sex life and a pile of kids.
During the course of the film, we learn about their business dealings, college era flings with a girl who now is one of the foursome’s wives (she refers to herself as the college slut), one character’s sterility, another’s love child, the problems of a stale marriage, the details of a lively one, and much more. Then there’s a wild party, sex at the water hazard, and an affair that almost happens.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Most of this ground has already been covered—with much better acting, direction and production values—in The Big Chill. In fact, I’ll bet the producers thought that what they had on their hands was a latter day version of that classic. There’s even a scene or two of the characters singing along to a rock anthem.
Unfortunately, the movie pales on comparison to The Big Chill. It’s more like a made-for-television movie, except for some bad language and one nude scene with a slightly overweight middle aged woman. In spite of the presence of B list star Kevin Dillon, the film skipped the theatres and went straight to DVD.
The golf scenes aren’t anything special, consisting mostly of a guy taking a swing, while another announces the result. Weirdly for a “golf movie,” the audience almost never sees the ball land. There’s just Kevin Dillon saying: “That’s eight feet from the pin,” or “That’s in the trap.
Aside from tees and a couple of traps, the movie shows virtually nothing of the course. In fact, at times, it was hard to tell that they were actually one one.
Of course, the movie isn’t really about the golf. Golf is just the vehicle through which the characters are revealed. It could just as easily have been about bowling, or ice fishing.
The Foursome apparently is based loosely on a stage play by the same name, written by Canadian playwright Norm Foster. In the stage version, there are just four actors, and consists of 18 scenes—each at a different hole’s tee during a single round of golf. The play sounds neat, and I’m going to keep my eye open for a performance in my area.
As for the movie, I think it’s worth a watch if—like me—you catch it on cable.