‘The Jewel of the Nile’ (1985) Review

Six months after the events of Romancing the Stone, Joan and Jack’s relationship has grown a bit stale. They’re still sailing around on Jack’s boat, Angelina, while Joan (Kathleen Turner) is having trouble finishing her latest romance novel. She’s eager to return home to New York City with Jack (Michael Douglas), but he’s not quite ready to give up their carefree lifestyle.

At a social engagement, Joan meets Omar Khalifa (Spiros Focás), a man looking to rule the Arab nation. He wants Joan to write his biography, and seeing a chance to expand her writing, she agrees, parting ways with a disapproving Jack.

After discovering that Omar is actually a brutal dictator, Jack sets off to rescue Joan and joins up with Ralph (Danny DeVito), who is out of jail and wants the stone Jack had stolen in the first film, and Tarak (Paul David Magid), an Arab man who is part of a group looking to kill Omar and put the true enlightened ruler in his place, a holy man named Al-Julhara, who has been kidnapped by Omar.

Like Romancing the StoneThe Jewel of the Nile is an action-adventure comedy that depends heavily on the chemistry between Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. Unfortunately they’re separated for far too much of the movie and while the sparring between DeVito and Douglas is a nice replacement, it’s pretty obvious that the movie is lacking something when Turner and Douglas aren’t sharing the screen together.

When they are together, Jewel is reminiscent of Romancing the Stone in terms of charm. I like the idea of the sequel asking the question… what happens after the happy ever after? When two people meet under such dire circumstances, can their relationship actually survive once they’re back in the real world? That’s definitely a question this movie attempts to answer, but it does so by throwing the couple back into dire circumstances!

Thankfully Turner and Douglas still have the chemistry that made the first film so fun. Unfortunately the storyline surrounding their characters doesn’t do much to bring the sequel up to par with its original. Parts of it are downright silly. I’m still not sure why a man like Omar would’ve chosen a romance novelist to write his biography in the first place. But that’s a question for another time, I guess.

Danny DeVito is given much more to do in this movie and without Ira weighing him down, Ralph is really quite funny. I loved his scenes with Douglas, and then Tarak and his men. DeVito’s comedic skills are put to much better use in Jewel, so that’s definitely a point in its favor.

I just don’t know! Maybe the movie suffered without a script from Romancing the Stone writer, Diane Thomas. Maybe it would have fared better if Robert Zemeckis had returned. It’s not a terrible sequel! I did enjoy it, but it just seemed like a lazy-ish retread of the first film and I guess I can see why it would not grab its audience the way Romancing the Stone had. It’s a shame because I would have probably liked seeing another movie or two starring Joan and Jack. I guess I’ll have to just settle for a rewatch of The War of the Roses instead.

Author: Romona Comet

"I'm probably watching a rom-com right now."