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TV-MOVIE EXPLOITATION OF 'SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN'

Shelley Hack checks out the single life circa 1984
SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN could've been titled THE LAST DAYS AFTER THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO, centering on the notorious 1980's Single Bar scene as the title, based on a Dolly Parton song, depicts the Waterloo of that particular pre-AIDS scenario, and is dated but almost intentionally since the subject, too, was going out of style, fast...

The setup is the most interesting and overall entertaining, getting to know the eclectic characters ranging from a recently-dumped Shelley Hack, who, despite having gone round-for-round with Robert DeNiro in Martin Scorsese's THE KING OF COMEDY, never got her due as an actress. After a one-night-stand at the central bar, Bandini's, with square-jawed Brett Cullin as a serial single, she's haunted by her ex, played by the (at that time) most famous cast member, Paul Michael Glaser (adding to the usual "former TV stars in a TV movie" template): Making Hack and Glaser the Ron Howard/Cindy Williams ala AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and too much time's centered on their working-things-out when more fun's had back at the club, where most of the picture takes place in a single "singles" night...

Mare Winningham has the Singles Blues SCORE: ***1/2
Actual tunes from the likes of The Stray Cats, Cyndi Lauper, Bob Seger and The Pointer Sisters plays while the bad bar-band glosses through Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac and other post-disco hits as our two token "wild youngsters" are, for the most part, fairly subdued: that being Kathleen Wilhoite and Mare Willingham as supposedly loose chicks getting picked up by just about any guy; yet we only see this happening with Wilhoite, who "teases" future ROXANNE actor Rick Rossovich. And when not dancing with players, together they philosophize on the night life...

Christine Lahti and Tony Danza
Meanwhile, virginal Keith Gordon (who unrealistically avoids an extremely cute, upfront and confident Jessica Nelson, resembling a young Linda Hamilton and way too good for the pale, wimpy, otter-faced CHRISTINE actor) hangs with his older, working-class brother, Tony Danza; the latter surprisingly portrays the club's clumsy strikeout king...

Leading to the best duo the movie has to offer in buried lead Christine Lahti, a nearing middle-age teacher taking a chance to find the perfect man in a barful of imperfect wolves: The first "nice guy" she meets results in a great twist, and then she winds up on an emotional rebound with Danza, after which is a wonderful 11th hour scene between the television TAXI star and future Oscar-nominated feature film actress (that very year with SWING SHIFT). They argue on why men are the way they are, and women are the way they are, mostly because of men: This could've been its own brilliant short film, and is the best reason to catch this curio (streaming on Amazon Prime) in the first place.
A very cute Jessica Nelson with Keith Gordon in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
Christine Lauti takes a shot at the single life
Tony Danza and Christine Lahti in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
Christine Lahti and Tony Danza in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
Tony Danza and Keith Gordon in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
Brett Cullen and Shelley Hack in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
Rick Rossovich and Kathleen Wilhoite in in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
Christopher Allport and Christine Lahti in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
Tony Danza and Christine Lahti in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
Mare Winningham and Kathleen Wilhoite in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
Paul Michael Glaser and Shelley Hack in SINGLE BARS, SINGLE WOMEN
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