Romancing Romance by A. Y. Stratton

August 10 2013

I have seen “Romancing the Stone” starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas at least 10 times. Just for fun I watched it again last night and laughed aloud, as I anticipated each wonderful disaster and the arrival of each sleazy bad guy. I had to close my eyes when the drug dealer’s army was shooting at them as they careened over the waterfall. I cringed while creepy giant snakes and alligators slithered after sweet, gullible romance author Joan Wilder (Turner) and ruthless, cocky, handsome (add a few more adjectives here) adventurer Jack Colton (Douglas).

The plot is perfect: Joan Wilder, a single woman who barely has the courage to venture from her tiny NYC apartment, gets a frantic call from her sister in Cartagena.  The sister tearfully reports her husband has been murdered, and she is being held hostage by his murderers. (We get a glimpse of some vicious, creepy drug smugglers.) They’ll release her as soon their (stolen) treasure map is returned. Apparently Joan Wilder’s sister had mailed her the map, which she keeps in her handbag, slung across her shoulder. We soon learn the map leads to the hiding place of a green diamond the size of a large fist.

Douglas plays Colton the adventurer/con man, perfectly. The rugged, sharp-shooting, fast-talker stumbles into a bus crash in the jungle, where he meets the stranded Joan. Colton agrees to guide Joan to meet her sister, as long as she pays him,   When a host of sleazy gangsters and dishonest policemen catches up to them, Colton shoots and/or drives his way out of trouble again and again. All of them are after that map. 

The action is non-stop, except for a bit of romancing, of course.  That too is quite perfect. We watch the greedy Colton grow soft in the presence of the innocent romance author. But we doubt his motivation. Is Colton is really in love, or just there for the loot? And is trusting and sweet Joan falling for him? After dancing and dining in a village, the two wind up in bed together, and Joan tells Colton that was the best day of her life. Colton answers, "I've never been part of anyone's best day." ( What a great line!)

The final shoot-em-up, bash- em-up battle takes place in a cave surrounded by cliffs and alligator-filled seas. The ending is a surprise.

Does the love of Joan Wilder’s life turn out to be a wag or a hero?  I don’t want to spoil it, but every good romance has a HEA.  (Happy Ever After!)