Nothing in Common [1986]

Tom Hanks wanted to prove his dramatic talent in the mid-1980s, and Nothing in Common gave him a ripe opportunity. Playing an emotionally immature Chicago advertising executive, Hanks offers a prototype of his later, better role in Big--the joking man-child with seemingly limitless reserves of energetic humor, perfectly suited to director Garry Marshall's trademark blend of featherweight comedy and sentiment. The movie wanders aimlessly before settling into its dramatic groove, involving Hanks caring for his aging, diabetic father (Jackie Gleason, well cast in his final screen role) after his mother (Eva Marie Saint) files for divorce and strikes out on her own. Like Marshall's Pretty Woman, the movie hits several grace notes and finds unexpected depth in its characters and their need for loving connections. Meanwhile, there's cheesy nostalgia in the '80s trappings, including songs by Carly Simon and Christopher Cross, and Once and Again TV star Sela Ward in an early supporting role. --Jeff Shannon

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