After a string of box-office hits, including Coming Home and Being There, director Hal Ashby announced in 1979 that his next film would be a "personal" project called The Hamster of Happiness. Two years would pass before this effort would appear on screen, by which time it had been heavily retooled in the editing room (by Ashby himself) and retitled Second-Hand Hearts. Robert Blake plays a boozing drifter, who while drunk as a skunk marries waitress Barbara Harris. The newlyweds set off on a long car trip to California, with Harris' two wretched children in tow. For this we waited two years? Weighted down with allegory, symbolism and "meaningful" character names, Second-Hand Hearts was the beginning of the end of Hal Ashby's glory days.