‘Old Gringo’

“Old Gringo” (1989, Rated R, 120 minutes) available from Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment

Stars: Jane Fonda, Gregory Peck, and Jimmy Smits

Plot: In 1913, an emotionally lost, sexually-frustrated woman (Fonda), abandons her listless existence to tutor children on a hacienda in Mexico and soon finds herself the object of desire for two local men, one older (Peck), and one younger (Smits).

Features: Choice of either Widescreen or Full Screen presentation, and Bonus Trailers.

Final Word: You expect more of the film version of Carlos Fuentes’s acclaimed novel of Mexico than Jane Fonda caught in the middle of a ®QuiÇn es m?s macho? match between Gregory Peck and Jimmy Smits. Fonda does her best with a thankless part. Peck radiates dignity, intelligence and quiet strength. But he can’t or won’t connect with the despair that would make the character memorable. Smits fares better at suggesting the turbulent emotions roiling beneath masculine bravado. His Arroyo has a fatal flaw: He’s attracted to the aristocracy he’s sworn to obliterate. Smits sparks the film, but he can’t save it. The novel is filled with sex, savagery and social upheaval. The movie is timid, restrained when it should be devastating.

Rating: 2 briefs (out of 5)