Romancing The Stone (1984)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 9/7/14
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito

A charming little adventure romance that could have only come out in the 1980s. Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is a romance novelist who lives alone with her cat in New York City and never leaves her apartment. She vicariously lives out her fantasies through her writing, and pines for the heroes that she writes about. Her world gets turned upside down when she receives a mysterious package containing a treasure map, and finds out that her sister has been kidnapped in Colombia. Clueless and hopelessly unprepared, Joan goes to rescue her sister and ends up lost and alone in the jungle. A dashing soldier of fortune named Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) reluctantly comes to her rescue and they decide to follow the treasure map while being chased by both the kidnappers and a violent military general. Romance blossoms between the two bickering leads, and you're never quite sure how much of a scoundrel Colton really is.

The light-hearted tone of the film immediately put me off, but I had to remind myself that this was very much a product of the times and it fit in nicely with the current Hollywood mindset. Kathleen Turner is utterly delightful as the mousy and clumsy Joan, and works well against Michael Douglas's devil-may-care portrayal of Jack. Danny DeVito is a lot of fun as a luckless villain who is always running his mouth and ending up with the short end of the stick. The South American locales are wonderful and there are some nicely staged action sequences. The pacing is slow and not much happens for the first hour of the film, but the characters and banter are strong enough to keep things interesting. Fun and innocuous fluff if you're in the mood for light romance.