FRIENDLY RELATIONS by Jane & Michael Stern Stern


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Remember Ninochka, the 1939 Garbo/Douglas flick in which a Commie comrade and an American join hearts across ideologies? Here it is again--with the Garbo character now in a Mao jacket to mark changing national obsessions. She's Li Soong, lovely but glowering daughter of the Premier of Communist China, currently accompanying her father on an official visit to the U.S. Not only is she assaulted by solid-gold evidence of the ""malevolence of capitalism,"" but she lectures the Premier on his acquiescence to the inanity of the antiseptic tour (including Disneyland). And Li Soong's reluctant escort is young college drop-out Jeffrey, son of the Secretary of State, so of course the two dislike one another on sight. But Li Soong is eager to see the ""real"" America of the oppressed, and--fascinated by Jeffrey's inflated account of a recent ""bumming"" trip to Texas--she urges him to escape Washington. Jeffrey is unable to resist adventure, and off they go, pursued by the FBI and a combo of volatile Chinese super-guards. Among the adventures: a great CB-fest with a trucker; a spell in a rural slammer; a jailbreak and celebration with a fellow escapee and poor black tenant farmers; near-capture by a sinister car salesman; and finally--a haven with a kindly widow, where they consummate their inevitably blossoming love. A generally sunny Disney-type production with predictable laff lines connecting the idiom of East and West, a convincing spoof of ""official"" sightseeing, and one or two inspired moments--cinema-bound and cheery, but bland as virgin bean curd.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1979
Publisher: Random House