EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT (director: Sidney Lumet; screenwriter: Jay Presson Allen/based on her novel; cinematographer: Oswald Morris; editor: John J. Fitzstephens; music: Charles Strouse; cast: Myrna Loy (Stella Liberti), Alan King (Max Herschel), Dina Merrill (Connie Herschel), Peter Weller (Steven ), Ali MacGraw (Bones Burton), Keenan Wynn (Seymour Berger), Tony Roberts (Mike Berger), Judy Kaye (Baby), Sara Truslow (Cathy), Joseph Maher (Dr. Coleson); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jay Presson Allen/Sidney Lumet; Warner Home Video; 1980)|
rom-com, that dishes out its comedy in an aggressive NYC style."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Sidney Lumet ("Daniel"/"Deathtrap"/"The Morning After")
directs this silly rom-com, that
dishes out its comedy in an
aggressive NYC style. It's enjoyable to see the always regal Myrna Loy,
in her last feature film. Alan King lights up the screen in a
flamboyant performance, where he makes his obnoxious controlling
magnate character somewhat human. Ali MacGraw makes the most of her role as a
feisty kept woman looking for love. The most pleasant surprise is Keenan Wynn's warm performance as an
elderly Jewish goniff rival of King's. Jay
Presson Allen's screenplay, based on her novel, plays with some
sophisticated comedy blended together with burlesque vulgarity and
inside jokes about Hollywood. It's never funny enough, nor is it ever
left high and dry without some meat on its plate. I think it's the kind
of film best enjoyed by those who believe even bitches and bastards
deserve to find romance.
Max Herschel (Alan King) is married to Connie (Dina Merrill), an alcoholic being
treated in a private sanitarium. His mistress of the last fourteen
Burton (Ali MacGraw), a TV
producer for the studio he owns, has met younger struggling playwright
Steven Routledge (Peter Weller) and in anger that Max doesn't
get her to produce a movie she marries the ambitious hack writer. Max
then schemes to win back Bones, which includes making a deal with his
Berger (Keenan Wynn) who
owns a Hollywood movie studio run by his arty son (Tony Roberts).
The crazy antics of all the neurotic characters include a
fistfight between Bones and Max in the posh Bergdorf-Goodman's
department store that demolishes most of the ground floor and a valued
porcelain vase used in an unusual business trade. Other
characters get into the act of the battle of the sexes, with Max's
long-suffering loyal secretary being the only even-keeled one in the
It's trashy stuff that benefits greatly from the talented
cast, but has nothing on the kinda of zany screwball comedies Loy once
starred in back in the day.
REVIEWED ON 5/28/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ