Surrender (1987)

screenshot from Surrender

Directed by: Jerry Belson
Screenwriter(s): Jerry Belson
Starring: Michael Caine, Sally Field, Steve Guttenberg, Peter Boyle, Jackie Cooper, Iman
Genre: Comedy / Romantic Comedy
Country: USA
Running time: 1h 30m
Rating: 2 out of 10

One of a string of grubby comedies made by Golan-Globus, the producers behind seemingly every DTV movie in the 1980s, this is a romantic comedy with an unromantic premise. Sean Stein (Caine) is a phenomenonly successful author with a terrible track record with women, having been through several disastrous divorces and palimony cases which have seen his fortune whittled down considerably. When he meets Sally Field, an impoverished painter, he decides to pose as a struggling, penniless writer to make sure she's not after him for his money.

Of course, he probably has good reason to doubt her, as Field is living with stockbroker Guttenberg when he meets her. Given the fact that Guttenberg's character is an odious, self-obsessed creep with a very ill-advised pornstache, it's easy to conclude that she must be staying with him for the money.

But Sean's deception becomes increasingly unsettling, as it is apparent from very early on in the film that Field loves him for himself, yet he persists with the charade. Meanwhile, her big decision – Caine versus Guttenberg – is not exactly a real head-scratcher. Deception aside, Sean is debonair and cultured.

Caine and Field actually try damn hard, and exhibit a certain charm (he more than she), but they are saddled with a bad premise and a worse script. Guttenberg is on his usual queasy form, although here it actually works for him. Iman's part was cut to shreds and she now only appears fleetingly in a court scene as the plaintiff in a palimony case against Caine.

The main problem is that veteran TV writer-director Belson doesn't even seem to care about his own material. And if he doesn't, why should you?