Monthly Archives: November 2015

Harrad Summer (1974)

harrad summer

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Bringing sexual liberation home.

The school year is over and now the students of Harrad, which is the college that teaches and promotes open sexuality, go home for the summer and put what they’ve learned into action in their everyday lives. Like in the first film this sequel focuses on just four of the students who find that their parents and friends are not as broad minded as they are, which causes friction in not only their relations with them, but with each other as well.

This film for the most part works surprisingly well. Director Steven Hilliard Stern takes more of a playful approach to the material and mixes in some funny moments that overall are quite entertaining. The wide variety of locales elevates the stagnant feeling that the first one had and it also manages to address a wider variety of issues.

The story is broken up into three segments with each one focusing on the student’s home lives as they visit each of their parents for 2-weeks at a time as a group. The first part, which deals with Stanley’s (Robert Reiser) folks isn’t too interesting and is fortunately pretty brief. The visit to Harry’s (Richard Doran) is the most comical and the film’s highlight while Stanley’s conflicts with Sheila’s (Laurie Walters) father (Walter Brooke) during their visit to her folks seem contrived and pointless. The film never manages to get to Beth’s (Victoria Thompson) parents, which is probably just as well.

The film’s biggest drawback is that neither Don Johnson nor Bruno Kirby, who were so good in the first film, reprises their roles here and their absence is sorely missed as  Reiser and Doran don’t have the same acting talents and are quite weak in comparison. Thompson, who was blonde in the first film, now has, with no explanation, jet black hair, which makes her look exactly like her sister and fellow actress Hilary Thompson. Also, Emmaline Henry, who was best known for playing Mrs. Bellows in the ‘60s show ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ replaces Tippi Hedren who was unavailable for the sequel and James Whitmore’s role gets taken out completely.

The supporting cast is what gives the film its spark. Comedian Marty Allen, whose hair looks like the ultimate bird’s nest and usually gets more attention than his comic ability, is fun as a drunken party guest. However, Pearl Shear, who plays his wife, is the real scene stealer as an overweight middle-aged woman, who in Mrs. Roper-like fashion, eagerly wants to get involved with the kids and their new found sexual liberation and even takes part in a nudist session with them.

Bill Dana, famous for creating the Jose Jimenez character, is quite good as well playing Harry’s staunchly conservative father who can’t deal with the open sexuality of the younger generation only to surprisingly come around to it at the very end. He also gets the film’s best line when after denying to Harry that he ever had any affairs finally admits “Maybe I did a couple (women) in Vegas and a few in Cleveland, but what else is there to do in Cleveland.”

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Alternate Title: Love All Summer

Released: August 6, 1974

Runtime: 1Hour 43Minutes

Rated R

Director: Steven Hilliard Stern

Studio: Cinerama Releasing Corporation

Available: DVD

Hamburger: The Motion Picture (1986)

hamburger

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 1 out of 10

4-Word Review: Receiving a hamburger education.

Russell (Leigh McCloskey) has flunked out of several colleges and has no future plans while being deemed a failure by his parents (Robert Hogan, Lillian Garrett). Then he meets a franchise owner of Busterburger who tells him about how much money he can make as an owner of one of their restaurants, which convinces him to train to become a franchisee. The problem is that he must attend Burger U, which is run by the no-nonsense Drootin (Dick Butkus) who has strict rules and won’t even allow the students to leave the campus during the school semester. They are forced to sleep in beds that look like giant hamburgers and if they do get into trouble they are locked into cells made to resemble giant pickles and sprayed with hot sauce.

There are schools out there that train people on how to own their own fast food franchise and had this film toned down the silliness and keep it solely on a satirical level it might’ve worked. The opening 10 minutes has an over-the-top campy quality, which isn’t bad, but then it devolves into the crude, cartoonish mindset that drags the thing down until it becomes a forgettable waste of time.

The film was written by Donald Ross who penned many teleplays for TV-series from the ‘70s through the ‘90s. He is also the husband of Patti Deutsch a red haired, nasal voiced woman who was a quirky contestant on game shows during the ‘70s including ‘Match Game’, which is my favorite. They also appeared together as a couple on ‘Tattletales’ and in those instances he came off as a reasonably intelligent person, so I was expecting a little bit more from this than what I got.

Unfortunately there’s nothing funny about it and just proceeds to get dumber and dumber as it progresses. It’s also insulting to overweight people as it includes a highly offensive and gross scene where a busload of them come into a restaurant and eat everything in sight like they’re animals instead of humans and then proceed to all have a flatulence attack, which ultimately blows the whole place up.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Butkus is alright and the one highpoint of both the film and his otherwise unimpressive acting career. Chuck McCann, who is almost unrecognizable as an eccentric professor, is okay too, but star McCloskey is dull and looks more like a man in his 30’s, which he was, than a college aged student while the rest of the cast of characters are too exaggerated to be either interesting or funny.

Clearly the producers were trying to tap into the Police Academy formula, but it doesn’t work and is a complete embarrassment to all those involved.

My Rating: 1 out of 10

Released: January 14, 1986

Runtime: 1Hour 29Minutes

Rated R

Director: Mike Marvin

Studio: Busterburger Limited Partnership

Available: VHS

The Leather Boys (1964)

leather boys 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Befriending a gay biker.

Reggie and Dot (Colin Campbell, Rita Tushingham) are young and in love, at least they think they are. They want to rush off and get married, but Reggie’s father (Lockwood West) feels that they ‘don’t know the meaning of the word’ and he gets proven right as immediately after they tie the knot they are at odds with each other. Reggie begins looking for companionship elsewhere and meets up with a fellow biker named Pete (Dudley Sutton). Pete and Reggie quickly become best friends and begin hanging out together, but Pete is secretly gay and has more of an interest in Reggie than just a friendship.

Director Sidney J. Furie, whose career has now spanned 6 decades, has done a lot of duds in his time, but this isn’t one of them. The stark black-and-white photography helps bring out the bleak working class existence of the characters and the variety of locales used including a nicely captured cross country motorbike race make the story captivating and believable.

The performances are outstanding. Tushingham is especially good at displaying a genuinely nasty side to her character at the most unexpected times. Gladys Henson, who plays the widowed grandmother, is also excellent and the scene where the others argue while right in front of her about how they consider her to be ‘an elderly inconvenience’ who needs to be sent away to a retirement home is downright heart wrenching. Sutton though is the most dynamic in a risky role that helped jettison him to stardom. His distinctive facial features galvanize the viewer’s attention and the ambivalent expressions that he makes particularly when in the presence of Dot are priceless.

Spoiler Alert!

The film though takes too long to get to its obvious conclusion as we have a pretty good idea from the beginning that Pete is gay, so having to wait until the very end for this to finally get revealed seems to be stretching the story out longer than necessary. Most likely Pete would’ve made some sort of pass at Reggie at some point earlier anyways especially since the men shared the same bed. The film also ends with Reggie walking away from Pete and essentially ‘abandoning’ him once he realizes that he is gay. The music that is played over the scene conveys the idea that this is the ‘right’ thing to do and parlays the conventional attitude of the time that there is something ‘wrong’ with Pete, which doesn’t make this as much of a landmark movie as it’s widely considered since its ultimate message is still entrenched with the biases and bigotry of that era.

End of Spoiler Alert!

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: March 8, 1964

Runtime: 1Hour 48Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Sidney J. Furie

Studio: Allied Artists

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video

 

The Harrad Experiment (1973)

the harrad experiment

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: College promotes sexual freedom.

Based on the novel by Robert H. Rimmer the story centers on a group of students who attend a socially progressive college where sex between multiple partners is expected and promoted. The school is run by Phillip and Margaret (James Whitmore, Tippi Hedren) who feel conventional marriage is an unrealistic ideal that creates the idea of ‘ownership’ over someone else, which in turn causes jealousy. They hope to end these problems and change the cultural norms by having the next generation accept more of a group marriage mentality.

The film nicely avoids the smarmy T&A factor by portraying nudity in a natural non exploitative way while also having characters that are believable and a good representation of the young generation from that era. The different ways that the students respond to the unique environment and the realization that they aren’t quite as sexually liberated as they thought remains the story’s focal point of interest.

The film also allows for a great chance to see young stars in the making. Laurie Walters, who later went on to star in the TV-show ‘Eight is Enough’, gives a sensitive portrayal of a young woman who’s still shy about her body and not quite ready to enjoy sex outside of the bounds of romance as she had initially thought. Bruno Kirby is good as well playing a student who’s so filled with insecurities that it prevents him from having any sex at all. Don Johnson though gives the best performance as a cocky student who uses the program simply as a way to ‘score’ with women only to later learn that even he needs some emotional bonding too.

The always reliable Whitmore is solid as the stoic instructor and Hedren gets one of her best roles outside of her most famous one in The Birds with her titillating moment coming near the end when she strips off her clothes and tries to entice Johnson to make love to her right out in the open and in front of everyone. Actor Ted Cassidy, who co-wrote the script, can also be seen briefly sitting at the counter of the local café.

Although the film does manage to bring out a few provocative elements I still felt even without having read the novel that is was only skimming the surface. Having the story focus on only a few of the couples isn’t as captivating as it could’ve been had it instead taken a broader look at all of the students. The low budget gives the production a cheap look and a few too many sappy love songs get thrown in an attempt to turn it into a ‘70s romance instead of keeping it more of a psychological drama that it should’ve been.

A sequel called Harrad Summer, which follows these same students who take what they’ve learned and try to implement it into their adult lives, was released one year later and that will be reviewed later on this week.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: May 11, 1973

Runtime: 1Hour 37Minutes

Rated R

Director: Ted Post

Studio: Cinerama Releasing Corporation

Available: VHS, DVD

The King of Comedy (1983)

king of comedy 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 9 out of 10

4-Word Review: Struggling comic craves fame.

Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) is a lonely 34-year-old still living in the basement of his mother’s home while fantasizing about one day appearing on the top-rated Jerry Langford show as a stand-up comedian. When he tries to contact Langford (Jerry Lewis) he’s given the blow off, so he decides to plot an elaborate plan with an equally obsessed fan named Masha (Sandra Bernhard). Together they kidnap Jerry at gunpoint and take him back to her apartment where they tie him up with duct tape. They then call the show’s producers and demand that Rupert appear that night as a guest comedian on the show or Jerry’s life will be ended.

Paul D. Zimmerman’s script, which was originally written in the late ‘60s and intended as a vehicle for talk show host Dick Cavett, is nothing short of brilliant and the main reason for its success is that it takes an outrageous idea and adapts it to realities of modern day life while pinpointing with amazing clarity all the absurdities of today’s celebrity worship culture. The story is told by people who’ve worked in the entertainment business, which makes the viewer feel like they’ve experienced life from inside after watching it.

There are so many ingeniously funny moments that it is hard to pick only one in fact you have to watch the movie several times in order to appreciate all of its subtly and satirical nuances. I loved the scene where Rupert talks to cardboard cutouts of Liza Minnelli and Langford as he pretends to be on their show or when he imagines doing his routine in front of an audience while speaking to a blown-up picture of a crowd of people. The segment in which Rupert arrives at Langford’s home unannounced is equally good and was entirely ad-libbed by the cast. The scene involving Langford’s kidnapping and subsequent ‘ransom’ note, which he must read from cue cards is also hilarious and Rupert’s wedding that he imagines being done live on the Langford show is a terrific send-up of the real-life wedding between Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki that occurred on ‘The Tonight Show’ on December 17, 1969.

Director Scorsese does a masterful job of jumping from the real to surreal as well as allowing the viewer to get inside Rupert’s head and appreciating the warped logic that many obsessed fans like him have. I also enjoyed the inspired casting including having Scorsese’s own mother playing the voice of Rupert’s mom and De Niro’s real-life wife at the time playing Rupert’s would-be girlfriend. Frederick De Cordova who was the producer of ‘ The Tonight Show’ during its run with Johnny Carson essentially plays himself as Langford’s producer and even Scorsese can be spotted during a brief bit with actor Tony Randall.

Lewis is interesting in his first serious role and it’s fun seeing a picture of him when he was only 12-years-old. Comedian Sandra Bernhard is surprisingly good and I enjoyed the fact that even though her character was nutty she still came off as being quite sensible when compared to Pupkin. De Niro though steals it by making psychotic character seem strangely likable.

The few drawbacks include why at 34 would Rupert suddenly decided to break into the entertainment business and what was he doing before this. The Bernhard character also needed more of a backstory especially when we find that she’s living in a luxurious apartment and apparently loaded with money, which goes against the grain of most celebrity stalkers who are almost always on society’s fringe.

The humor may not resonate with everyone, but if one is a fan of dark comedy then it doesn’t get much darker than this. The twist ending, which blew me away when I first saw this years ago, now doesn’t seem quite as believable, but the rest of it is on-target in what is clearly a top comedy to of the ‘80s.

My Rating: 9 out of 10

Released: February 18, 1983

Runtime: 1Hour 49Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Martin Scorsese

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video

Where Does It Hurt? (1972)

where does it hurt 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Corruption at a hospital.

It’s funny how names like Ed Wood Jr. or Tommy Wiseau get mentioned in just about anyone’s list of bad movie director’s, but Rod Amateau’s never does, but should. Not only did he produce ‘My Mother the Car’ and ‘Supertrain’, which are considered two of the worst TV-series ever to be broadcast, but he also directed the notorious Garbage Pail Kids as well as Son of Hitler and The Statue, which featured a jealous David Niven going around the bathrooms and gay bathhouses of London looking for a man whose penis matches the one that his wife created for a life-sized statue that she says replicates her lovers.

While this film isn’t quite as bad as those it comes close. It stars Peter Sellers who was at a career nadir due to financial mismanagement and willing to take on any low budget job offer he was given. Here he plays the corrupt head of a hospital that uses an array of schemes to bilk patients and insurance companies out of thousands of dollars. Rick Lenz plays a patient who becomes aware of the shenanigans going on and tries to bring Sellers and his staff down, but finds that they seem to have a trick up their proverbial sleeves at every turn.

The film manages to have a few amusing moments, but comes off more like a gag reel than a story. The characters are exaggerated and unlikable. We are supposed to side with Lenz and his predicament, but he so stupidly allows the doctors to take advantage of him at the beginning that it becomes hard to. The whole thing gets sillier by the second until by the end it’s completely inane. It also makes light of some serious issues that were handled better in Paddy Chayefsky’s The Hospital, which came out just 8 months before this one.

To some degree it’s fun seeing Sellers, who was noted for his wide range of dialects, taking a stab at an American accent and he almost pulls it off except for a few moments including the one where he pronounces orifice as AW-ifice.

The supporting cast made up of lesser known talents proves to be game here. Pat Morita, still years away from his breakout role in The Karate Kid, is genuinely amusing as a lab tech with an inferiority complex and at one point even speaks in a British accent. Harold Gould is good as an incompetent Dr. and J. Edward McKinley, best known for his many appearances on ‘Bewitched’ as one of McMahon and Tate’s primary clients, is funny as the Hospital commissioner who relentlessly tries to nab Sellers and eventually after repeated missed opportunities is able to.

In better hands this might’ve had a chance, but the low budget, irritating country music soundtrack and cheap jokes pretty much sink this thing before it even has a chance to get started.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: September 29, 1972

Runtime: 1Hour 28Minutes

Rated R

Director: Rod Amateau

Studio: Cinerama Releasing Corporation

Available: None at this time.

Way…Way Out (1966)

way way out

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Living on the moon.

The year is 1989 and both the Russians and Americans have set-up bases on the moon. Each base has 2-people living in them. For the Russians things go smoothly mainly because they have a man and a woman (Dick Shawn, Anita Ekberg) cohabitating while the Americans have two men (Dennis Weaver, Howard Morris) who quickly go crazy because there are no women around for sex. NASA decides to replace the two men with a man and woman like the Russians have, but insist that unlike the Russians the American couple must be married. Pete (Jerry Lewis) who is a long time employee of the space agency is chosen and his female counterpart is fellow astronaut Eileen (Connie Stevens). The two had never met and are forced to accelerate their courtship and eventual marriage in a matter of 3 days before getting rocketed up into orbit.

To some degree this is an interesting idea and the first 15 minutes or so allows for some comic intrigue, but the filmmakers blow it by backing off of their novel approach and turning the whole thing into just another contrived romance. Stevens may be attractive, but her acting is limited and her presence adds no other added element to the proceedings besides being ‘eye candy’. The film would’ve been funnier had Pete been forced to go up with agency’s second choice, which was Esther (Bobo Lewis) who was a more aggressive, less attractive woman who could’ve added humorous conflicts. The spats between Pete and Eileen is banal and the second half devolves into one long drunken party between the American and Russian couple that isn’t funny and more like filler  put in when the writers ran out of ideas from their original concept.

From a sci-fi angle it is implausible. The rocket ship takes only a few minutes to get from earth to the moon and when they get there the lack of gravity is never addressed and they are able to walk around normally except for the few times when they get into fights, which sends one person flying off into the air when punched by the other. The earth that is shown in the sky has no clouds even though clouds can always be seen from just about every satellite shot taken of earth from space. The film also ruins the most intriguing element, which is seeing how they might’ve predicted things would look like in the ‘80’s from a ‘60’s perspective by having a narrator state right away that ‘little has changed’ in the past 23 years and therefore making no attempt to show anything from a futuristic viewpoint.

Lewis is amazingly restrained and doesn’t end up ruining things with his overacting, which instead gets done by Shawn. Weaver has a few good moments as the stressed out astronaut slowly going nutty as well as Brian Keith as a gruff American general, but Robert Morley is the funniest as the over-worked and over-burdened head of the space program.

Since one must set the bar very low from the beginning with any Lewis comedy this manages to be tolerable despite being more benign than it needed to be.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: October 26, 1966

Runtime: 1Hour 41Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Gordon Douglas

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: DVD (Region 2), Amazon Instant Video

The Princess Bride (1987)

princess bride 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: Grandson likes bedtime story.

Based on the 1973 William Goldman novel, who also wrote the screenplay, a grandfather (Peter Falk) arrives to read to his sick grandson (Fred Savage) a fairytale. Initially the grandson is more interested in playing video games, but soon finds himself enraptured with the story despite his initial reluctance. The tale involves a country girl named Buttercup (Robin Wright) who falls in love with a farmhand named Westley (Cary Elwes). When Buttercup mistakenly thinks that Westley has been killed by some pirates she agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) only to end up getting kidnapped before her wedding and saved by Westley who was never dead to begin with. The two then must fight off the evil Prince who still insists on marry Buttercup and doing away with Westley.

The film, which was directed by Rob Reiner and produced by his former ‘All in the Family’ creator Norman Lear, is engaging from beginning to end and filled with endlessly funny dialogue and exciting adventures that remain pleasantly amusing throughout. My favorite moment is seeing a completely unrecognizable Billy Crystal hamming it up as an old man magician who tries to revive Westley while sounding like a comedian from vaudeville.

The special effects are impressive especially the shot showing Buttercup’s three kidnappers climbing a rope up a steep mountain while being followed close behind by Westley. To me though the best part is when Westley gets attacked by what appears to be a giant rodent that, with the exception of his fake looking fur, looks amazingly real and not like a stuntman in a body suit or a computerized image.

The performers are well cast with my favorite being former wrestler Andre the Giant who steals it despite having no acting experience and at times difficulty enunciating his words. The only negative is Christopher Guest as a six fingered man who supposedly attacked the Mandy Patinkin character when he was a child, but now that Patinkin has grown he faces Guest again even though Guest looks to be practically his same age and not someone who should be significantly older.

The story is basic and lacks the grandiose and dark quality that many of the classic Grimm fairytales possess. The banter between the grandson and Grandfather is fun and I wished it had cut back-and-forth between the two and the story more often than it does. The context is simple and straight forward and its ‘message’ of teaching kids to learn to enjoy reading is a bit too obvious, but overall as non-think escapism it scores a bullseye and through the years has managed to acquire a strong cult following.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: September 25, 1987

Runtime: 1Hour 38Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Rob Reiner

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube

 

The Visitors (1972)

visitors 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: His past comes back.

Vietnam veteran Bill (James Woods) has moved back into civilian life while enjoying the quietness of the country with his girlfriend Martha (Patricia Joyce) and her infant son. One day in the dead of winter while Bill is away shopping two of his former war buddies Tony and Mike (Chico Martinez, Steve Railsback) come by for an unexpected visit. When Bill returns he is not happy to see them and when Martha asks him why he tells her of how while in Vietnam he had witnessed the two raping a woman and later he decided to report it, which got the two men sent to prison. Now that they are out he is afraid they may be looking for revenge. Tony insists that he’s forgiven Bill for what he did, but Mike’s intentions are much more ominous especially with the way he eyes Martha. As the night wears on the tensions mount until festering over into anger and mayhem.

The story is loosely based on an actual crime that occurred in Vietnam on November 19, 1966 when five American soldiers kidnapped and gang raped a 21-year-old Vietnamese woman who they later killed. One of the soldiers, who did not take part in the crime, but did witness it, reported the incident to his superiors, which eventually got the other men convicted and imprisoned.

The incident was first made into a movie in 1970 in Michael Verhoeven’s o.k. and then 19 years later Brian De Palma did another version of it called Casualties of War, which starred Michael J. Fox. This version differs from the other two in that it only alludes to the crime, but never shows it. Instead it hypothesis on what might’ve happened had those who were convicted came back to revisit the one that had turned them in.

Story wise the film works to a degree as it reveals things in layers, which helps hold the mystery and filming the majority of it inside one lonely, isolated house gives it an effectively claustrophobic feeling, but the production values are extremely low and resembles more someone’s lost home movie than a feature film directed by a one-time Hollywood legend. The background sound is mainly made up of a howling wind noise, which helps heighten the creepiness, but then during the second half director Elia Kazan inserts music, which becomes a distraction.

The ending leaves open a wide array of unanswered questions along with a lot of murky character motivations that makes the whole thing seem pointless and ill-conceived. The only interesting element to get out of it is seeing Woods and Railsback in their respective film debuts. Railsback is especially good in a part he seems born to play and one he honed to even greater success years later in The Stunt Man.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: February 2, 1972

Runtime: 1Hour 28Minutes

Rated R

Director: Elia Kazan

Studio: United Artists

Available: Amazon Instant Video

HealtH (1980)

health 4

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Altman’s take on politics.

Normally I’m a big proponent of the European and independent filmmaking system that allows the director to have complete creative control over their projects, which in Hollywood doesn’t always occur and many times the studios will meddle with the film until it becomes nothing like what the director had originally envisioned. However, this film is a great example of what can happen on the opposite end when a director and his ego are allowed too much leeway until their movies become self-indulgent exercises that appeals to no one except themselves and a few of their most ardent followers.

During the ‘70s director Robert Altman had achieved such heightened celebrity that 20th Century Fox studio head Alan Ladd Jr. gave him the green light on virtually any project or idea he wished to pursue. Ladd was such a big fan of Altman’s stuff that he didn’t even care if the film made money or not, which they usually didn’t. It was during this period that Altman was able to achieve some of his most bizarre onscreen creations like Brewster McCloud, which was brilliantly quirky, while others like this one petered out before they even began.

Here Altman was clearly borrowing from his own well particularly with the way he captured running conversations going on at the same time between different people that 10 years earlier had come off as being fresh and inventive, but by this time was now derivative and distracting. The film’s parade of eccentric characters is not interesting or relatable and Altman’s stab at political satire is too soft and unfocused with no connection at all to the political scene of today.

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The threadbare plot, which deals with two political candidates played by Glenda Jackson and Lauren Bacall who compete for the presidency of a Florida health food convention, has too much dialogue and not enough action. It manages to be mildly amusing for the first 30 minutes, but then like with a tire suffering from a slow leak it starts to fizzle until it culminates with a dull and pointless conclusion.

It’s almost worth a look just to see Carol Burnett playing a more subdued type of character than she usually does although the part where she becomes ‘shocked’ at the rumor that her favorite candidate had a sex change operation now seems quite dated. Dick Cavett is also engaging playing himself and trying to corral all the nuttiness around him, but it’s Paul Dooley, who is also credited with co-writing the screenplay, that is the real scene stealer playing an independent candidate willing to do anything for attention.

I’m a big fan of Altman’s work, but I found this one to be slow going, uneventful and sloppy. The film’s concept could’ve used a lot more fleshing out as the whole thing plays like it was simply a lark done by a director that was coasting too much on his past successes while not throwing anything new into the mix.

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My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: September 12, 1980

Runtime: 1Hour 40Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Robert Altman

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: None at this time.