My New Gun
1992 Directed by Stacy Cochran. Starring Diane Lane, James Legros, Tess Harper, Bruce Altman, Stephen Collins, Maddie Corman, Bill Raymond.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 19, 1993
This quirky little suburban comedy -- the story of the chain reaction set in motion when a young doctor purchases an unwanted handgun for his wife -- seems almost to be a lost Hal Hartley (The Unbelievable Truth, Trust) film. Like Hartley, Stacy Cochran has set her film in the overly familiar world of East Coast suburbs, where nothing much seems to be going on at any given moment. It's a placid, docile existence for Debbie Bender (Lane), the quiet, almost cloyingly normal wife of M.D. hubby Gerald (Collins), until her husband takes it into his head to buy her a revolver for her protection. Debbie, terrified of this nickel-plated intruder in her nightstand, begins to have nightmares about it, and finally agrees to let next door neighbor/resident mysterious guy Skippy (LeGros) “borrow” the offending item for a while. LeGros, who's turning out to be one of the most engaging character actors around these days, gives the enigmatic Skippy a slow-eyed charm -- he's had a crush on Debbie for a long time, so he's eager to please her in any way possible. What on earth he needs the gun for is left deliberately sketchy (as are many things in this movie, much to its benefit). When cocky Gerald goes to retrieve the Smith & Wesson, however, he manages to shoot himself in the foot, landing in the hospital and paving the way for romance to blossom between Skippy and Debbie. Really, this sounds like there's quite a bit going on, but the film's almost excruciatingly leisurely pace belies the truth. Loose ends abound in this film, and by the time it's over, you still have questions on your lips. Amazingly, though, this works to the film's benefit: it's such a disarmingly odd film that it seems as though such unresolved points merely add to its charms.