Picks and Pans Review: Those Lips, Those Eyes

updated 09/08/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/08/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The title does not mean that Frank (Dracula) Langella has stopped being a neck man and is moving upward. There isn't a single nibble in this sometimes wryly amusing look at a Cleveland summer stock company grinding out operettas like The Desert Song. The time is 1951, and screenwriter David Shaber, himself a strawhat veteran, seems bent on recapturing the thrill of his brush with the theater. Langella helps. Even if his rendition of Indian Love Call could set Nelson Eddy spinning, he's astonishingly adept at light comedy. The engagingly goofy Thomas Hulce of Animal House plays a hick awestruck by Langella's matinee-idol panache. Glynnis O'Connor, as an adulterous lady in the troupe, and Jerry Stiller, as a harried father, do wonders in support. But director Michael (Boulevard Nights) Pressman buries his small, nice details under overwrought theatrics. What film, especially one so delicate, could survive lines like "I can touch up my hair but not my life"? (R)

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