"What a storm of acting! Midler loads her own brassy, elbow-swinging, big-mama sluttiness on top of Janis's childlike egocentricity, and the results are emotionally kaleidoscopic, draining, yet clear as a series of trumpet blasts."
-David Denby, NEW YORK
Rose is a rock singer whose life is out of control. She is a brillant star who is overwhelmed by the demands of her career and desperately in need of time off. Her manager, Rudge, refuses her request, and Rose turns to booze, drugs, and sex for solace. Rose thinks she has found the man of her dreams when she hooks up with Houston, an AWOL soldier, but he cannot put up with the craziness of her lifestyle. When Houston leaves her on the brink of her hometown concert in Miami, Rose is devastated. She does heroin, liquor, and pills, then manages to give her last performance before dropping dead on stage.
"Midler is not overly concerned with building a plausible characterization. Her performance is more on the order of creative sabotage, interjecting sassy Midlerian one-liners to pep up a discombobulaterd storyline. There's no way of knowing what thie bizarrely patchy movie started out to be -a love story? A comedy? Director Don Siegel is hardly known for comedy. On Jinxed he may not have known that he was making one until he saw the rushes."
-David Ansen, NEWSWEEK
Once upon a time there was a gambler named Harold who had a jinx on a blackjack dealer named Willie. Wherever Willie goes, Harold shows up and wins at his table, forcing the casino to fire Willie. The only way for Willie to break the jinx is to take something from Harold, something like his girlfriend, Bonita, a lounge singer. Bonita is unhappy with Harold, who is cruel and abusive to her. She falls in love with Willie and the two conspire to kill Harold to cash in on his life insurance policy. Before they can pull off the murderm Willie defeats Harold and breaks the jinx. He decides to run off with Bonita rather than kill Harold. However, they find that Harold has committed suicide. Impulsively, they decide to use Harold's dead body to fake an automobile accident and then collect on the policy. When they discover that the policy has lapsed, they break up.Bonita tracks down the mysterious treasure Harold has left her, which turns out to be the secret of Harold's jinx on Willie. She shows up at his blackjack table and wins big. Later on, she shares the wealth with Willie, and they reunite.
Down and Out in Beverly Hills
"Welcome, once again, to Jean Renoir's Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932), which Paul Mazursky has revised, possibly with half an eye on My Man Godfrey....Mazurky varies Renoir's ending. Indeed, the old film the Down and Out most consistently evokes is Mazursky's own Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.....Well, Disney did produce the film, and on the basically farcial level where it chooses to stay, it is a funny and likable movie."
-Richard Schickel, TIME
A depressed, homeless man named Jerry Baskin decides that life is not worth living when his dog runs away from him. Determined to kill himself, he jumps into the Beverly Hills swimming pool of the Whiteman family. Dave Whiteman saves Jerry and invites him to rebuild his life by staying in their poolhouse. Barbara Whiteman is appalled at first, but slowly, Jerry ingratiates himself with the entire family. He ends up helping each member of the clan to solve many of their problems, but in doing so, he threatens Dave's position as family leader. Jerry decides to leave, but Dave, Barbara, and the family all realize that they don't want him to go and ask him to stay. Jerry turns them down until he realizes that he cares about them, too - too much to go.