Picks and Pans Review: A Night in Heaven

updated 12/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

How about An Afternoon in Purgatory? An Evening in Limbo? A Day in the Pits? Flashdunce? No title would be idiotic enough to reflect the mindlessness of this film about a college student/male stripper who seduces his speech professor. Christopher (Dallas) Atkins plays the student. He is, of course, the most boyishly good-looking type in Hollywood. His voice doesn't quite seem to have changed, though, and the closest he comes to sensuality is that of a rutting Mouseketeer. Then, too, he is to acting what Helen Hayes is to playing middle linebacker. The usually splendid Lesley Ann (Victor/Victoria) Warren sinks to the level of her leading man's performance. Trying to portray a sensitive middle-aged woman whose husband's neglect has made her vulnerable, she frets, blushes, sobs and all but gnaws on the camera lens. Carrie (The Fury) Snodgress plays Atkins' waitress mother as if she were auditioning for a paper towel commercial, and Deney Terrio, the preening host of the syndicated TV series Dance Fever, also has a small role, though not small enough. Director John (Rocky) Avildsen did at least help screenwriter Joan (Nashville) Tewkesbury prove that women writers are the equal of men when it comes to writing doltish films. (R)

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