‘Sibling Rivalry ‘ Holds no appeal

By Andrea M. Cuchetto

The film “Sibling Rivalry” held as much appeal for me as a very slow paddle boat ride on a gray and rainy afternoon—minus any rain gear.

As in the case of the boat ride, the potential for entertainment exists. However, the overabundance of water (i.e. acting) and lack of color (i.e. a solid script) put a damper on the very real possibilities.

Margery Turner (Kirstie Allie) is married into a family of doctors (her husband is a gasteroenterologist—a stomach surgeon). Margery is the “perfect” wife to Harry Turner (Scott Bakula of “Quantum Leap”), thus, she does what she is told without questioning. The role of “perfect” wife conflicts with advice she receives and takes from her younger, much more “modern” sister, Denean (Jami Girtz, “Lost Boys,” “Square Pegs”). Margery decides to have an affair with a man she meets in a grocery store. The catch is that the man she has sex with pushes himself beyond the limits of his heart (literally).

Faced with her strong religious beliefs, the rigidly defined role of wife and family, as well as the obvious moral conflict, Margery finds that things can (and do) get far more involved.

Unfortunately for Margery, the dead man is no stranger to the family—he is the awaited dinner guest: Uncle Charlie (Sam Elliot, “Mask”). Because he has been out of touch with the family for years, Uncle Charlie (Harry Turner’s brother) is not someone Margery has ever met or seen before their affair.

Complicating the situation further, the investigating police chief becomes romantically involved with Margery’s sister Denean.

I found the first three_quarters of this film so dull that when it started to pick up even a little speed, I would get my hopes up—only to have them dashed when the script would weaken and negate the positive steps toward real development of the plot.

The title “Sibling Rivalry” is worked into the script in a way that offers enough complications to keep the film tied together but fails to break any ground. Again, there is real potential for developing this strength further but it never quite pans out.

As a fan of Kirstie Allie and of Sam Elliot, I thought their presence in this Carl Reiner film made it an almost, but not quite, worthwhile way to spend an evening.