Cousins (1989 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoel Schumacher
Produced byWilliam Allyn
Written byJean-Charles Tacchella
Stephen Metcalfe
Music byAngelo Badalamenti
CinematographyRalf D. Bode
Edited byRobert Brown
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • February 10, 1989 (1989-02-10)
Running time
113 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$22,026,369

Cousins is a 1989 American romantic comedy film directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Ted Danson, Isabella Rossellini, Sean Young, William Petersen, Keith Coogan, Lloyd Bridges and Norma Aleandro. The film is an American remake of the 1975 French comedy Cousin Cousine, directed by Jean-Charles Tacchella. It was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada but set in Seattle.


Larry Kozinski (Danson) and Maria Hardy (Rossellini) meet at the marriage of Larry's uncle Phil and Maria's mother Edie (Aleandro). Newly made cousins-by-marriage, they find they have more in common than expected as their respective spouses, insecure Tish (Young) and boorish Tom (Petersen) begin an affair. Over a series of ritualized family events, dreamer Larry and repressed Maria decide to exact revenge on their spouses by pretending to have an affair themselves. Their good-natured plan takes on unexpected gravity when they learn not only are they great friends, but they realize they're falling in love with each other.

They consummate the affair, but the ramifications shake their families, including Larry's artistic son Mitch (Coogan) and Maria's adorable but aggressive daughter Chloe (Isabelle). They end the affair to bring stability back into their families' lives. Meanwhile, (after the sudden death of Uncle Phil), Larry's father Vince (Bridges) becomes interested in his widowed sister-in-law Edie and courts her.

Larry and Maria meet again some time later at Vince and Edie's wedding. Encouraged by Tish (who had split from Larry earlier in the film), he asks Maria to "dance with him", angering Tom but convincing Maria to break free from her unhappy marriage. In an epilogue, Larry and Maria are seen sailing away with their children, living a fantasy they had shared from their earlier affair.



The film was directed by Joel Schumacher, known mostly for his works St. Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys. Although not identified as such, the locations were primarily shot around Vancouver, Canada, among the first times the city was featured so prominently, and led to the city being used as a film location much more. The soaring score was composed by Angelo Badalamenti, who was extremely popular at the time from his work with Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet director David Lynch. Film Score Monthly described Badalamenti's melodic score as a definite asset to the film, underscoring several scenes with comical, Henry Mancini-like cues, and others with a delicate, poignant theme that blossoms into a waltz over the end credits.[1]


The film has received mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 50% of 8 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 5.8 out of 10.[2] The film received two thumbs up from Siskel & Ebert, who were the only major critics to respond enthusiastically to the film upon its theatrical release. The film grossed a total of US$22 million, with an opening weekend of $3.5 million.[3]

Individual praises were held as well, particularly praised was Rosellini, whom critics found able to create a sweet, affectionate role after appearing in David Lynch's Blue Velvet.[4] Other comments called the film "underrated" and "While not amongst the great movie romances, there is something undeniably touching—and dare I say heart-warming—about Cousins".[4]


  1. ^ Film Score Monthly Archived 2008-05-04 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Cousins – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  3. ^ "Cousins (1989)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Digitally Review of "Cousins"

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