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Portrait of a White Marriage (1988)

Joyce and Hal Harrison have a perfect marriage until Joyce asks her favorite daytime talk show host Martin Mull to visit their small town in Ohio and shoot an episode of his TV show there. Hal quickly becomes jealous and acts out on it.


Harry Shearer


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Credited cast:
Martin Mull ... Martin Mull
Mary Kay Place ... Joyce Harrison
Fred Willard ... Hal Harrison
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Arnott David Arnott ... Staffer #1
Kate Benton Kate Benton ... Mrs. Enid Fletcher
Lew Brown Lew Brown ... Mayor Norman Sturgeon
Marcia Ann Burrs ... Audience Woman #1 (as Marcia Bures)
Helen Page Camp ... Audience Woman #2
Beatrice Colen ... Mrs. Peaco
Jimmy Cremona Jimmy Cremona ... Gas Station Attendant
Jeff Doucette ... Darryl Spencer
Conchata Ferrell ... Mrs. Sturgeon
Isabel Grandin Isabel Grandin ... Pittsburgh Girlfriend
Christian Jacobs ... Tommy Harrison
Lance Kinsey ... Staffer #2


A famous talk show host moves to a small town in Ohio with the intention of giving a new start to his current erratic career by shooting a special there. While the town's residents are only concerned in taking advantage of his celebrity status, he falls for a local married woman who happens to be his number one fan but also very much devoted to her husband. This causes several chaotic misunderstandings. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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Comedy | Romance


Did You Know?


Follows The History of White People in America (1985) See more »

User Reviews

Starts off funny, but becomes a bore
1 August 2002 | by CommieTTSee all my reviews

Maybe I expected too much? I thought that direction by Harry Shearer, writing by Martin Mull and acting by those two plus Fred Willard would add up to something pretty good. I was wrong.

The premise is ok, and the beginning of the movie is pretty strong and well paced. Eventually, it collapses under its own weight.

The story, in a nutshell, is a daytime talk show is moved from a large city to the small town where Fred Willard and Mary Kay Place's characters live. At the same time, the town-folk try to take advantage of having a "celebrity" in their midst. That's the backdrop. The major plot points are the falling out of the marriage between Willard and Place's characters. Willard gets "help" from the clergyman's therapist wife; Place finds solace in the arms of Mull. Smalltown rumors abound.

Not something I'd recommend, unless you'll sit through anything with Mull, Willard or Place in it.

My rating: 4

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Release Date:

27 August 1988 (USA) See more »

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