Picks and Pans Review: Tax Attack 87

updated 03/30/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/30/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

'Tis the night before taxes, and comedian Robert Klein is about to tackle his 1040, an adventure made even more perplexing this year by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Facing a clutter of receipts and pepperoni pizza wedges, he grumbles, "It's all just a big game." POOF! In a dream sequence Klein becomes a human pawn on a Brobdingnagian game board laid out Monopoly fashion. Guiding him through a maze of tax jargon is the voice of the IRS, played as a snippy bureaucrat by comedienne Susie Essman. Klein moves through adjusted gross income, taxable income, and new provisions that affect 1987 tax rates, deductions, credits, long-term capital gains, tax shelters, pension plans and more. He learns how these considerations might affect 1986 returns. Produced and written by Harriet Meth, this 43-minute video was designed as a general summary, but its lessons have been presented with more clarity in various newspapers and magazines. As a bumbling taxpayer, Klein displays his usual collegiate style, but the production is sabotaged by a personality that makes the IRS-taxpayer relationship needlessly adversarial. As Ms. IRS, Essman ranges from combative to downright nasty. In one silly exchange Klein announces, "I'm all ears." Ms. IRS replies, "Yeah, I noticed they were rather large." Other sarcastic comments, such as "I forgot to laugh," are as funny as cat fur in a cocktail. This videocassette is tax deductible for anyone who bought it last year, but anyone who didn't buy it at all got the better deal. (LCA, $19.95)

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