Corrina, Corrina

Whoopi Goldberg stars with Ray Liotta in this sometimes funny, sometimes touching, mostly dry–and–boring sentimental journey into the outerworld of predictability.

Liotta plays a young man who writes ad jingles for a living. His wife died recently, and Liotta has had problems dealing with the pain. In his healing process, he has neglected his young daughter, Molly (Tina Majorino). Molly deals with the tragedy in her own way –– she stops talking shortly after her mother’s death.

Liotta soon realizes that he will need someone to watch Molly during the days while he’s at work. So he interviews applicant after applicant in hopes of finding just the right match for his adorable daughter. He has very little luck. His search is reminiscent of Sally Field’s in Mrs. Doubtfire. (One prospective nanny even has the guts to crawl into bed with Liotta, saying that she only wants to be all that a wife could be to him.)

His quest is fruitless. That is, until Corrina shows up. Corrina (Goldberg) is your stereotypical Hollywood servant: efficient but sassy. She is disheveled, she is brazen, she is a little profane, but she also seems to possess an innate ability to communicate with the silent Molly.

Goldberg has had roles like this before. In Clara’s Heart (1987), she played a Jamaican servant who knew more than her Maryland employers. In The Long Walk Home (1990), she played a Southern servant caught up in the Civil Rights movement of the early 1960s. She overacts with gusto, leading one to speculate what might have happened if she had had an affair with Liotta during filming, the way she carried on with Ted Danson during the making of Made in America last year.

Liotta, who is not known as the “fatherly” type, tries his best to portray his character as sensible, yet job–motivated; caring, but reserved; despondent, yet amiable. He sleepwalks through the role with barely a discernable pulse. It seems that in an attempt to bring stability and reliability to his character, Liotta has become more reserved and more of a reactor than a protagonist.

The fault of the movie, however, is not merely in the actors’ inabilities to play each role effectively. The script is disjointed and horrendously predictable. From the first moment that Liotta and Goldberg meet, you have a sinking feeling that they (gulp!) will fall in love. The chemistry ain’t there, folks. Goldberg has personality to burn, while Liotta is practically comatose for much of the film.

**

(Originally published Spring 1995 in The Gleaner of Rutgers University-Camden)

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