Two gorgeous people who are madly in love and who crack each other up — what more could a home viewer want? Well, just a touch of meaning. In Prelude to a Kiss, the adaptation of Craig Lucas’ 1990 hit Broadway play, an old man (Sydney Walker) dying of lung cancer and cirrhosis switches souls with a bride (Meg Ryan), a predicament her husband (Alec Baldwin) discovers, much to his horror, on their honeymoon. Can he still love her as the old man?

The soul switch is clearly a metaphor for AIDS: Sweet young people nowadays become ancient almost overnight. Baldwin is wonderful and so is Ryan, but they can’t shore up the precarious and fairly hokey premise, which eventually involves getting the two souls back into the right bodies. Now, if the play and movie had been about him coping with, and accepting, her in an old man’s body without any hope of her going back to her gorgeous physical self, it might have been about something instead of settling for sappy, feel-good metaphysics. C

Prelude to a Kiss
  • Movie
  • 105 minutes