Two for the Road

Make that three for the road, since Two for the Road‘s laserdisc edition of Stanley Donen’s marital-motor-trip travelogue picks up the director himself, now 67, as backseat driver. His newly recorded commentary about the film’s production is stowed away in an alternate soundtrack.

While he steers adroitly through discussions of filmmaking technique, Donen gets a bit lost analyzing his characters: As we follow the 12-year marriage of squabbling spouses Mark (Albert Finney) and Joanna (Audrey Hepburn), all telescoped into five separate yet intercut holidays through France, Donen calls Finney’s behavior ”playful” when much of it plainly seems boorish, even malicious. There are long pauses between Donen’s remarks, and too often he sits back for the ride, merely describing what we can see for ourselves.

Fortunately, it’s a highly scenic trip, and the disc’s letterbox format faithfully renders each wide-screen rural vista and gracefully choreographed duel between Hepburn and Finney as they move from smart-aleck courtship to mutual infidelity to tentative reconciliation. Unlike their director, they remain stimulating travel companions on repeat viewings. B+

Two for the Road
  • Movie
  • 111 minutes