Picks and Pans Review: Wrong Is Right

updated 04/19/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/19/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

Remember 1984, Dr. Strangelove, Goldfinger, All the President's Men and The China Syndrome? Now imagine someone has edited together snippets of all those apocalyptic films, plus a dozen or so more. That gives an idea of what this miasma is like. Columbia Pictures says screenwriter-director Richard (Looking for Mr. Goodbar) Brooks based his screenplay "upon his own observations of the state of the world today." If so, Brooks cannot be very optimistic. His hero is a traveling TV reporter, played as a self-loathing opportunist by Sean Connery. He is mainly a vehicle for cynical jabs at TV, politics, business, the CIA, the military, religion, revolution, Watergate, Vietnam and everything else less innocuous than the Campfire Girls. There are the sudden death of an oil kingdom's leader, a nuclear bomb threat by terrorists, a silly President (played by George Grizzard) and his silly opponent (Leslie Nielsen), and frequent clumsy references to television's ratings mania. There is excessive gory violence. What is the point of all this? Nothing is what it seems—unless it seems to be an illusion. In a closing shot, Connery suddenly takes off his hairpiece and looks into the camera, as if to say, "See, this diatribe against illusions was itself an illusion." But then, were the other "illusions" not illusion? Even where wrong is often right, confused is never clear. (PG)

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