Trying his best to be Chaplinesque, Jackie Gleason crossed the line between pathos and bathos in 1962's Gigot. This remake works better, thanks to a pair of fine performances and a few realistically rough edges.
William H. Macy, who won a 2003 Emmy for playing a salesman with cerebral palsy in Door to Door, is restrained yet moving in the Gleason role of the mute Gigot, transplanted from the Paris of the original to New York City. Gigot, the superintendent of a rundown apartment building, reluctantly watches over a young girl named Lou (vibrant newcomer Keke Palmer) after her drug-addict mother splits for Philadelphia. In many ways it's a familiar screen relationship—the lonely adult and the abandoned child—but Macy and Palmer make us feel their characters' need for love without getting excessively teary.
Don Rickles seems to be doing stand-up as the protagonist's gabby pal; still, he delivers comic relief. Though her character is unconvincing, Catherine O'Hara has a wry turn as Gigot's weekly sex partner. If the upbeat ending is a bit pat, at least the characters have earned some happiness.