Picks and Pans Review: The Pickle

updated 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Danny Aiello, Dyan Cannon

It ends with Ally Sheedy in a farm-girl costume waving at us through the porthole of a giant space-traveling cucumber floating above Trump Plaza. And what comes before isn't much better. The Pickle, directed by Paul Mazursky, is a completely flat comedy about a famous middle-aged movie director (Aiello) desperate to make a comeback after a siring of flops. He agrees to film a fantasy epic about a bunch of farm kids who fly a giant cucumber to another planet, which turns out to look like Manhattan, although it's called Cleveland, and is peopled by meat-eating creeps who wear trendy black. This movie-within-the-movie (which also features Isabella Kossellini, Griffin Dunne and Little Richard) is stupendously bad-some sort of deliberately dim-witted allegory that suggests Gulliver's Travels rewritten by Sherwood (Gilligan's Island) Schwartz. The movie that surrounds it is just dim, acted by a cast—Cannon as Aiello's ex-wife, Shelley Winters as his mother and Jerry Stiller as his agent—whose energy level falls somewhere below a gherkin's. (Mazursky, in a small part as a projectionist who's getting ready to retire, is actually quite good.) Michel Legrand's score, at least, has some high-flying sparkle. (R)

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