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Monday, September 15, 2014

Last Of The Red Hot Lovers (1972)

A man (Alan Arkin) in his mid forties is having a mid life crisis. He attempts a series of extra marital affairs that turn out to be disastrous with the sarcastic promiscuous Elaine (Sally Kellerman), the mad as a hatter Bobbi (Paula Prentiss) and the uptight suburban housewife Jeanette (Renee Taylor). In the 1960s and 70s, Neil Simon was a sure thing when it came to comedy whether on Broadway or Hollywood. His plays were an automatic sell for the movies (almost always adapted by him) and he wrote a few original screenplays too. Today, while some (like BAREFOOT IN THE PARK) still retain their charm, many of the film adaptations are static. A few actors in a room bantering quips back and forth is acceptable on the stage but it gets a wee tiresome on celluloid after awhile. LOVERS isn't one of Simon's better works and the third sequence with Arkin and Taylor can be painful to watch as the actors flap around desperately trying to breathe life into the scene. The first two sequences work considerably better thanks to Kellerman and Prentiss, expert comediennes who can squeeze a laugh (or at least a smile) out of the weakest material. Listlessly directed by Gene Saks.

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