Yes, Rita Moreno holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for being the only performer to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, a Grammy and a Golden Globe-but she is still one of our country's most grievously misused and underappreciated actresses. This thought could cross your mind as you watch her squander her considerable talents on Blue Moon, a trifling, waffling fantasy worth maybe a tenth of her effort, if that.
Moreno plays a woman whose heart, hardened from 40 years of marriage, is lightened by a look at a younger version of herself in love, at the starting gate of that relationship. As is her wont, the actress goes right up to the mark and delivers 100 percent of what is asked of her-and then some, making this flat-footed fancy almost buoyant and airborne.
The thing weighs a ton. Director John Gallagher wrote the screenplay from a story by Stephen Carducci. Both would seem to have seen Field of Dreams too many times-and learned nothing. Their premise plays fast and loose with time zones and mixes tenses, but the playing out of the given is burdened with predictability every heavy step of the way.
Moreno and the also-underused Ben Gazzara are a stressed-out, uncommunicative urban couple who flee the city for an isolated lakeside cottage. There, they encounter a couple who, it develops with some dread and loathing, are really themselves at a lovestruck 25. Alanna Ubach and Brian Vincent play the younger couple with no particular presence or skill. Burt Young and Victor Argo drop their faces into the proceedings ever so briefly.
Blue Moon aspires to be Moonstruck, but it winds up being Moonstruck-Dumb.