The Woman in Red (1984) *

Hard to imagine this film making much of an impact anyone who stumbles upon it now, though it will probably still offer enough easy, sitcomdram-style entertainment to make it worthwhile to any susceptible to Wilder's easygoing charm. (Or to connoisseurs of eighties aesthetics, if such animals exist.)
But at the time it was a big popular success and something of a talking point, while the poster image became briefly iconic, doing for Le Brock what 10 had done for Bo Derek. (Sadly, like Derek, she didn't have the depth or versatility to sustain a career, and after an equally decorative role in Weird Science faded from the scene.) Chances are, anyone around at the time will remember the scene of Le Brock dancing over a subway vent; just as likely they'll remember little else. It's success was further extended by a Stevie Wonder hit single about telephones.

On the one hand it shows just what an interesting and worthy creative figure Wilder was at this time: long having turned his back on the Mel Brooks school that informed his first couple of directorial ventures, he opts here to make a film that is not merely romantic farce but which also attempts to deal with some genuine issues and 3-D characters. (The other thing that comes across, in a film that strives to be alternately gritty and raunchy as well as comic, is the sheer sweetness of the man, and his generosity of spirit.) On the other, it doesn't quite pull it off: the film feels bitty, and too many threads and ideas are developed hastily or abandoned mid-stream, while the characterisation is too often fudged for the sake of narrative expediency.
Still, a point for trying, and for nostalgia.