Picks and Pans Review: Someone to Love

updated 05/09/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/09/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

There are probably some people who just can't wait until their next root canal. Then there are those who hope against hope that a new movie directed by Henry Jaglom will appear. Like Jaglom's previous cult-cultivating productions (A Safe Place, Sitting Ducks, Always), this film defies analysis. It is about a director, Jaglom, who gathers his single friends in a movie theater to lament that they're alone. That's it. One character describes the event as "silly, self-indulgent, pretentious nonsense," as if to make a preemptive critical strike. But this is worse than nonsense. Jaglom portrays people as relentlessly shallow; these seem to be the folks who missed the cut to be in Woody Allen's similarly self-pitying September. Michael Emil, as the director's brother (he and Jaglom are real brothers), is the same jittery, annoying character he always is in Henry's movies. More peculiar than nepotism is Jaglom's ability to inflict himself on talented people. Sally Kellerman, Andrea Marcovicci, Kathryn Harrold and director-sculptor Oja Kodar are among the women Jaglom strands on the screen; pop singer Stephen Bishop, jazz pianist-composer Dave Frishberg and the late Orson Welles are among the men. Welles especially is ill used. Long a mentor to Jaglom, Welles appears (in footage shot not long before his death in 1985) onscreen as an observer of the proceedings, chatting philosophically in a combination of improvisation and lines scripted by Welles. "Happy endings depend on stopping the story before it's over," he says. But Jaglom edits the footage so that Welles often seems a little buffoonish. It's sad that Welles would be better remembered as the voice of the killer planet Unicron in The Transformers, another of his last film credits, than he would for his part in this idle project. (Unrated)

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