THE MONEY, HONEY by Linda U. Howard


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Not funny, honey: Howard, whose Expecting Miracles (1980) had its moments, will elicit far more winces than laughs with this strained, derivative cartoon-treatment of a poor artist's tussles with sudden wealth. Matthew Morganstern, 35, is a N.Y.C. painter who's never sold a canvas; he's virtually the ""Kept Man"" of girlfriend Ariel, a writer turned ad-woman; his own attempts at an art/ad career go sour. . . and so does his first one-man show. (There's a gallery fire--typical of the slapstick plotting here.) But then Matthew wins $250,000 in the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. And, since Matthew is implausibly drawn as a Know-Nothing Nerd, he soon finds himself at the mercy of a series of overdone revue-sketch types: James Gross, a combination accountant/psychologist (""Close your eyes. . . Get into your space""); Miranda Martin, who has given up sex for her beloved Metrobank (""And remember this. . . Metrobank loves you""); stockbroker Getty Milford, who has orgasms while reciting the Dow-Jones figures; assorted Big Bucks hustlers; plus a posh, big-spending secretary named Cornwall. Meanwhile, of course, the relationship with Ariel deteriorates, and even Matthew's Jewish-stereotype parents aren't pleased by the newfound money. So Matthew finds that he now has a ""Meaningless, joyless, loveless, hopeless existence""--until he and Ariel, back together again, buy a farm (""Good-bye, Heavy Nights Maxi Pads!"") and do a predictable re-run of all those rural-idyll-gone-wrong comedies from the Forties. Finally, then, Matthew loses Ariel, along with most of his money--but he ultimately finds Love, Happiness, and Wealth by becoming a famous painter of outrageous murals. Plastic people, Bloomingdale's chatter, labored send-ups (of inflation, Soho sell-outs, Madison Ave., etc., etc.): an episodic, occasionally vulgar mish-mash which might please a portion of the Gall Parent audience.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1982
Publisher: Putnam