Corrina, Corrina (1994)
Goldberg makes Whoopi for Liotta and Majorino
Is Tater Tot Mr. Potato Head's son? - Molly
After the death of her mother, young Molly Singer (Tina Majorino - When a Man Loves a Woman) withdraws from life, refusing to speak causing her father Manny (Ray Liotta - Goodfellas) a lot of worry. In order to try and get back to a normal life he decides that they need a housekeeper/nanny and after interviewing several inappropriate candidates he settles for African American Corrina Washington (Whoopi Goldberg - Made in America). Some how Corrina brings Molly out of her world of silence and at the same time becomes romantically involved with Manny which leads to plenty of issues for them both.
Whilst entertaining, charming and inoffensive "Corrina, Corrina" is also sadly average thanks partly because the dealing with life after the death of a loved one storyline has been done before, but also it takes on too much by trying to merge extra elements such as the racial tensions of the 1950s and also a romance into the storyline. It means that it never goes into any depth skipping along between everything with out really showing any more than a passing glimpse. For example other than Corrina's sister and Manny's mother's occasional comment about whites and blacks not mixing there is no real racial tension on show and the romance side of it whilst innocently charming feels unreal and underdeveloped. Which only leaves the getting over death part of the movie which understandably covers the same ground which other movies have covered but never paying it enough attention.
As such it's impossible for "Corrina, Corrina" not to be predictable thanks to the main storyline and in many ways you except it, but the fact that whilst skipping through story elements things at times feels a little too cliche, ends up spoiling what could have been a much more original movie. Even the slightly clever way it tackles Molly's fear of her father also dying as she hides his cigarettes ends up feeling too obvious and in fact preachy towards those who smoke.
The predictable ness of "Corrina, Corrina" also extends to the performances with the always delightful Whoopi Goldberg relying on a semi sassy performance that she has shown in various other movies and Ray Liotta delivering a charming but slightly emotionless performance as the recently bereaved Manny. Between these two they deliver the sort of adequate performances which go hand in hand with the movie. Thankfully they are accompanied by the cute Tina Majorino who manages to deliver a performance of childhood innocence as well as sadness in those scenes where she is struggling to cope with death. It's a wonderful performance which stands out but as with any child performer there are times it verges on the too cutesy.
What this all boils down to is that "Corrina, Corrina" is what it is, a charming but much movie. It has some lovely moments, a nice soundtrack and an easy going nature making it easy to watch. But it floats along trying not to be offensive and so ends up feeling distinctly middle of the road and as such don't expect to be swept along with a dramatic, emotional storyline just enjoy its adequate, simplistic charms.
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