Michael Sauter
April 12, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Sibling Rivalry

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
88 minutes
performer
Kirstie Alley, Scott Bakula, Bill Pullman, Sam Elliott, Jami Gertz, Ed O'Neill
director
Carl Reiner
distributor
Columbia Pictures
genre
Comedy

We gave it a D

As every Cheers fan knows, Kirstie Alley is a gifted comedian — good enough to survive a flawed farce like Sibling Rivalry. But she’s not good enough to save it.

For a while, Alley’s worth watching as a neglected wife who breaks her dull routine for an afternoon of extramarital passion. Note her surprise when her handsome stranger (Sam Elliott) dies of postcoital heart failure. Watch her panic when she learns that he was the brother-in-law she had never met. See her scramble to cover her tracks. Then witness how Carl Reiner sinks an already shaky film with his predictable and perfunctory direction. With all the style of a ’70s TV movie — and with so many TV veterans involved (including Frances Sternhagen, Scott Bakula, and Ed O’Neill), Sibling Rivalry should have fit comfortably on the small screen. But no. It only seems smaller.

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