Melissa Pierson
April 19, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

What Happened Was...

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
91 minutes
performer
Tom Noonan, Karen Sillas
director
Tom Noonan
distributor
Samuel Goldwyn Films
author
Tom Noonan
genre
Drama, Comedy, Romance

We gave it an B+

It’s not often that a movie is rendered almost unwatchable by its very premise. Jackie (Sillas, doing a fine job), a secretary at a law firm, invites a very strange man from work over for dinner; their excruciating first date is the sum total of What Happened Was…. It’s hard to believe that these two people, so dissimilar in every way, would be attracted to each other in the first place. It’s even harder to listen to the drone of the numbingly unsympathetic Michael (Noonan, also the movie’s writer and director). When there are only two characters on screen, you’d better rouse concern for both so your viewer is not fatally tempted by the stop button. And you’d better not substitute awkward pauses for real drama. Or else, in the end, what happens will be… nada.

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