Moonlight and Valentino (1995) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The only thing that distinguishes Moonlight and Valentino from a quickie made for the Oxygen Network is the presence of some familiar names in the cast. Apart from that, it is a by-the-numbers chixploitation film with the usual situations and characters.

It begins with a contented and prosperous suburban wife being suddenly widowed when her perfect astrophysicist husband is killed by a fluke jogging accident. (Because he's not only a genius, but one who always stays in top physical condition.) In order to help her through her grief, a hen pack arrives, featuring the neurotic younger sister, the kooky friend, and the bossy stepmother. Hundreds of candles are lit at all times. Eventually she is consoled by having sex with the incredibly handsome and sensitive young house painter who likes to paint by moonlight.

The casting was so stereotypical you should have no trouble figuring out who played which parts. The cast: Elizabeth Perkins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathleen Turner, Jon Bon Jovi

  • The neurotic sister who smokes too much, always wears black, and really needs to get laid. She is still moping around about her mother's death, even though that happened when she was a little girl and she's now in her twenties.
  • The kooky girlfriend who makes pottery.
  • The high-powered stepmom who is always on the phone to Frankfurt or Hong Kong, and is deeply resented by her youngest step-daughter.
  • The tragically widowed English professor.
  • The incredibly sexy house painter.

Sorry, you were wrong. Whoopi was the house painter, and she got into some heavy girl-on-girl action with Perkins. There's really nothing like a lesbian encounter to perk a woman up after losing her husband.

Or maybe I just made that up.

Perkins actually got perked up by her late husband's last pack of Chiclets, which caused her to masturbate.

Unfortunately, I did not make that one up. She chewed one of his Chiclets and started to feel herself up.

Moonlight and Valentino has some good moments, but it is not a good film. It's basically a stock chick-flick footage festival, and it rambles on to no particular destination, topped off by a facile, feel-good ending when everyone gets what she needs and all the main characters establish new bonds. As Roger Ebert wrote, "Moonlight and Valentino has all the right ingredients to be an "Airplane!"-style spoof of Women's Pictures. All it lacks is a sense of humor."

It also lacks, I might add, a decent DVD. It comes with a mediocre letterboxed transfer and absolutely no features. Avoid it.



  • No features
  • There is a widescreen transfer, but it is letterboxed, not enhanced for 16x9 screens.


Elizabeth Perkins showed one nipple in the obligatory bath by candlelight, and later showed her bum in a steam bath.

There was also an unidentified  topless woman in that steam bath.

Gwyneth Paltrow shows the entire right side of her body from the rear.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus out of four stars: slightly below two stars. James Berardinelli 2.5/4, Roger Ebert 1/4.

The People Vote ...

  • It grossed $2.5 million.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a D, formulaic and unoriginal - no better than a Lifetime Movie except for the big name cast. Might be enjoyable for a tween or young teen girl, assuming she's not too bright.

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