I Love You to Death

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I Love You to Death
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan
Produced by Jeffrey Lurie
Written by John Kostmayer
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Owen Roizman
Edited by Anne V. Coates
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • April 6, 1990 (1990-04-06)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
Country United States
  • English
  • Italian
  • Serbo-Croatian
Box office $16.2 million[2]

I Love You to Death is a 1990 American black comedy film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring an ensemble cast featuring Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, Joan Plowright, River Phoenix, William Hurt, and Keanu Reeves.

The screenplay by John Kostmayer is loosely based on an attempted murder that happened in 1983, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where Frances Toto repeatedly tried to kill her husband, Anthony.[3] She spent four years in prison for attempted murder.


Joey Boca (Kevin Kline) is the owner of a pizza parlor located in Tacoma, Washington, and has been married to Rosalie (Tracey Ullman) for years. Rosalie is horrified to discover that Joey is a womanizer and has been cheating on her for a long time.

Rosalie does not want to allow Joey the pleasure of having every woman he wants, so she refuses divorce. Taking extreme measures, she enlists the help of her mother (Joan Plowright), and her young co-worker Devo (River Phoenix), who's secretly in love with her, to kill Joey in order to put an end to his infidelity. They also hire two incompetent, perpetually stoned hit-men (William Hurt and Keanu Reeves).

However, Joey proves impossible to kill. Despite multiple attempts to poison, shoot, and bludgeon Joey to death, he remains blissfully unaware that he is being targeted.



Kline had requested that his wife, Phoebe Cates, take a small role in the film. She appeared in the bar/disco scene as the girl Joey picks up at the bar. She did this as an uncredited appearance and as a favor to her husband.[citation needed].


Critical response[edit]

I Love You to Death received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 56% based on reviews from 18 critics.[4] On Metacritic, the film holds a 45 out of 100 rating based on 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]

Roger Ebert describes the film as "an actor's dream" but isn't quite so sure it is a dream film for an audience. He praises Ullman for her performance, noting it is all the more effective against the overtly comic performance of Kline. Ebert suggests Kasdan was attracted to the script because it seems almost impossible to direct, and although he is not sure it succeeds, it is certainly not boring.[6]

Box office[edit]

The film earned $4 million on its opening weekend and grossed over $16 million in North America.[2][7]


External links[edit]