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Friday, April 15, 2016

Curtain Call (1998)

A book publisher (James Spader) moves into a posh Manhattan townhouse. But there's a problem. The long deceased former residents, a married acting couple (Michael Caine, Maggie Smith), still reside there. Essentially an updated version of TOPPER with Spader in the Topper role and Caine and Smith as the ghosts but whereas TOPPER sparkled, CURTAIN CALL can't quite get any juice going. The main problem is the derivative script by Todd Alcott which even Caine and Smith can't breathe life into but Spader lacks the necessary comedic chops for this kind of role. An often strong dramatic actor, charm has never been Spader's strong suit and this is the kind of thing a young Hugh Grant or Tom Hanks could have done effortlessly. It's one of those films that one can't call good but you can't call it bad either so mediocre pretty much sums it up. Directed by Peter Yates (BULLITT), his last theatrical feature. With Marcia Gay Harden, Sam Shepard, Valerie Perrine, Buck Henry, Frances Sternhagen, Polly Walker and Julianne Nicholson.

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