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For Better or Worse is a 1995 American feature film. Written by Jeff Nathanson, it starred Jason Alexander, Lolita Davidovich, and James Woods. Alexander also directed the film, which saw a limited theatrical release. After the film's brief theatrical run, the film aired on TNT in 1996.[2]

For Better or Worse
For Better or Worse 1995 Film VHS Cover.jpg
American VHS cover of "For Better or Worse"
Directed byJason Alexander
Produced byDavid Rotman
Jeff Nathanson
(executive producer)
Samantha Goodman
(associate producer)
Written byJeff Nathanson
StarringJason Alexander
Lolita Davidovich
James Woods
Music byMiles Goodman
Edited byMichael Jablow
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
March 19, 1995
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$40,622 (USA)
$1,795 (UK)[1]



The film stars Alexander as Michael Makeshift, Davidovich as Valeri Carboni and Woods as Reggie Makeshift. Others in the film included Joe Mantegna as Stone, Jay Mohr as Dwayne, Robert Costanzo as Ranzier and Bea Arthur as Beverly Makeshift. A young Haley Joel Osment also appeared in the film as Danny.[3]

The film was first shown in America on March 19, 1995, and in the UK on 29 December 1995. On 1 April 1997, the film premiered in Italy and in Hungary too on 20 May 1997. In Sweden, the film first received a TV premier on 1 August 2004.[4] The film grossed $25,912 on its opening weekend in America across 24 screens before totaling $40,622 by the end of March.[5]

Following its release, the film remained out-of-print and only available on VHS, although in recent years it is available as a download via iTunes[6] and on via Instant Video.[7] In 1996, Home Video Hellas released the film on VHS in Greece, whilst LK-TEL Vídeo released it on the same format in Brazil. In 1999, Turner Home Entertainment released the film in America on VHS.[8] Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the film in the UK in 1999, where it featured slightly different artwork to the American release.[9]

The film was originally to be called "Stranger Things".[10] The film's credits nickname all the crew involved in the film's music as Bob.[11]


Michael Makeshift (Jason Alexander) is a schnook who can't get over the fact his girlfriend dumped him. To make matters worse, his landlord is beginning to bug him for long-overdue rent. Things for Michael's brother Reggie (James Woods) are much better. He is planning to rob the credit union where his own mother (Bea Arthur) works. His new wife Valerie (Lolita Davidovitch) has no idea what Reggie is planning and is therefore puzzled when she awakes at Michael's apartment after Reggie left her there whilst she was drunk and unconscious. She also does not know that Reggie has paid Michael for the favor. Despite his well-laid plans, things go badly for Reggie when his henchmen mutiny and force him to reveal that the clueless Valerie carries the security codes they need to pull off the job in her suitcase, which in turn begins a merry chase. While Michael helps Valerie escape, he reveals the truth about Reggie. At the same time, she becomes increasingly attracted to her new protector.[12]


Critical receptionEdit

Iotis Erlewine of Allmovie gave the film two out of five stars.[13] Both Video Movie Guide 2002[14] and Video Source Book gave the film two out of five stars as well.[15]

In 2004, Vince Leo of gave an unfavorable review, stating: "Not exactly the directorial debut that 'Seinfeld' favorite Jason Alexander would have hoped for, 'For Better or Worse' is little more than a ninety-minute collection of strained situations and unfunny moments. The problems start early, as it is just a bad idea for a romantic comedy to begin with, and it certainly doesn't help that Jeff Nathanson can't inject anything fresh into it. 'For Better or Worse' isn't devoid of comedy, as it did occasionally make me chuckle, but not nearly enough as it made me annoyed. 'For Better or Worse' is a rhetorical proposition, as all Alexander delivers is worse and worse. Unless you find him completely irresistible, there's not much going for this inept misfire."[16]

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reviewed the film upon release, giving a rating of two and a half stars out of four, noting: "Exceedingly strange comedy wavers between hilarity and "huh?". 'For Better or Worse' just strange enough for cable."[17]

St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN) gave the film an unfavorable review upon release, stating: "Oh, that Jason Alexander is a crafty one. Last summer, director Rob Reiner cast him in one of the year's lousiest movies. For months, Alexander has been biding his time, but now he has his revenge: He's given Reiner a cameo in an even worse movie."[18]


  1. ^ For Better or Worse at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ People in the News 1997 - David Brownstone, Franck - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  3. ^ "For Better or Worse (1995) - Full cast and crew". 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  4. ^ "For Better or Worse (1995) - Release dates". 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  5. ^ "For Better or Worse (1995) - Box office / business". 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  6. ^ "iTunes - Movies - For Better or Worse". Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  7. ^ "For Better or Worse (1995): Jason Alexander, Lolita Davidovich, Joe Mantegna, Rip Torn: Movies & TV". Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  8. ^ "For Better or Worse (1995) - Company credits". 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  9. ^ "For Better Or Worse [VHS]: Woods James: Film & TV". 1996-06-09. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  10. ^ "For Better or Worse (1995) - Trivia - IMDb". Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  11. ^ "For Better or Worse (1995) - Trivia - IMDb". Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  12. ^ "For Better or Worse". Rotten Tomatoes. 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  13. ^ "For Better or Worse (1996) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  14. ^ Video movie guide 2002 - Mick Martin, Marsha Porter - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  15. ^ The Video Source Book: A Guide to Programs Currently Available on Video in ... - James M. Craddock, Thomson Gale (Firm) - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  16. ^ "For Better or Worse review (1996) - Qwipster's Movie Reviews". Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  17. ^ "NewsBank for AJC |". Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  18. ^ . 1995-03-17 Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit