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RYAN O'NEAL & SHELLEY LONG HAVE 'IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES'

Title: IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES Year: 1984 Rating: ****1/2

Ryan O'Neal was the original Leonardo DiCaprio, both starring in what turned out surprise hits, LOVE STORY and TITANIC respectively, after which avoiding blond sex symbol status to link with a creative director, and, along with auteur films by Stanley Kubrick and Walter Hill, O'Neal's Martin Scorsese was Peter Bogdanovich, who he'd later satirize in the romantic comedy (and partial road movie) IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES...

Hiding behind a cute frame story involving O'Neal as film professor turned director with wife Shelley Long, channeling Bogdanovich's first wife/creative partner Polly Platt, who, following a quirky hitchhiking whirlwind romance and later, after a divorce, face a similar court battle with daughter Drew Barrymore ("I'm divorcing my parents"): otherwise randomly appearing throughout an underrated gem that both celebrates and parodies the 1970's Renaissance Era...

Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES

O'Neal is energetic and natural as the Bogdanovich-inspired Albert Brodsky, starting as a movie-geek college professor until hired by Roger Corman-style producer Sam Wanamaker to finish a project that becomes a smash hit... 

But not as lucrative as the followup where O'Neal's Albert, an overnight sensation, falls for gorgeous nowhere waitress Sharon Stone, perfectly combining desperate naivete with gold-digging disquietude after becoming (like Cybill Shepard in Peter's classic THE LAST PICTURE SHOW) a nude-scene breakthrough bombshell...

Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Shelley Long & Sharon Stone

Eventually peaking with a massive musical catastrophe, based on two infamous Bogdanovich flops... herein an overly absurd GONE WITH THE WIND remake that Brodsky puts all his money and reputation into: and where O'Neal channels his former muse not only in the initial climb but hitting rock-bottom after ex-wife Long becomes a best-selling author (derived from Polly Platt's second career as Oscar-winning James L. Brooks' producer)...

And where the underrated O'Neal's equally suited for brooding, vulnerable drama as neurotic comedy... the latter ironically Bogdanovich's creation in WHAT'S UP DOC and, overall, along with a fitfully high-strung Shelley Long during her five-year CHEERS run, DIFFERENCES provides a unique, surreptitious glance into the previous decade's niche-cinema that, perhaps to Bogdanovich's glee, failed at the 1980's box office... but shouldn't have.

Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Sharon Stone
Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Long's fiance David Graf
Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Sam Wanamaker & Shelley Long
Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Shelley Long
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Sam Wanamaker & Shelley Long
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Ryan O'Neal
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Ryan O'Neal
Drew Barrymore from the frame story of IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Luana Anders
Shelley Long in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Ken Lerner
Shelley Long, Ryan O'Neal and John Ford in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Ryan O'Neal
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Ryan O'Neal
Shelley Long in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES with Sam Wanamaker & Shelley Long
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Sharon Stone in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
Ryan O'Neal in IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES

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