Picks and Pans Review: Gildalive

updated 05/05/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/05/1980 01:00AM

This film version of Gilda Radner's successful trip on Broadway last summer is first-class entertainment by America's funny valentine. Directed by Mike Nichols (Lorne Michaels did the Broadway show), Radner hits the marks with her ragtag gang of endearing Saturday Night Live characters: Judy Miller, Emily Litella, Roseanne Roseannadanna and Lisa Loopner. But the showstopper is Radner as herself singing Michael O'Donoghue's naughty Let's Talk Dirty to the Animals, doing an audition in which she tap dances out of step, and singing her own lyrics about the lost innocence of high school. A couple of the bits come off heavy-handed. Was it necessary, for example, for Radner to powder her leotard around the bust and groin in a parody of gymnast Nadia Comaneci? But the film adds backstage glimpses of the fierce energy that went into the show and exhibits Radner's ability to slip in and out of character in seconds. Her supporting cast is excellent. Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci, the Vatican gossip columnist, would have stolen the show if Radner hadn't been in such good form. (R)

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