Picks and Pans Review: Author! Author!
If anyone yells out the title of this film after seeing it, screenwriter Israel Horovitz may want to think twice before 'fessing up. There are more brickbats than bouquets likely to be thrown at his script. It's about a New York playwright, Al Pacino, who simultaneously faces a Broadway opening and desertion by his wife, leaving him alone with five young children. Pacino, moaning about how depressed he is on the one hand and flaunting his warm feelings toward the kids on the other, practically oozes lovability. The children, led by the wise beyond his (or anyone else's) years teenager Eric Gurry, rattle off sarcastic comments nonstop. There's a nicely understated performance by Tuesday Weld, as the wife. Dyan Cannon, as his play's—and, briefly, his personal—leading lady, is beguilingly showbiz. Bob (Elliott) and Ray (Goulding), as a lawyer-accountant brother team, and Judy Graubart, as a browbeaten secretary, do nice bits. Pacino, though, is oppressively downcast. And director Arthur (Making Love) Hiller mostly just drops punch lines and demands laughs. At one point Pacino's character says his play is serious but written "in a comedy mode." This is a comedy written in a whining mode. (PG)
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