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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dinner At Eight (1989)

A rather self absorbed but ditzy society hostess (Marsha Mason) plans a dinner party for some British royals. The guest list includes her husband's (John Mahoney) old flame (Lauren Bacall), a crass tycoon (Charles Durning) and his trampy wife (Ellen Greene, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS) and a washed up Hollywood actor (Harry Hamlin). This remake of the 1933 MGM comedy (by way of the George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber Broadway play) can't hope to compete with the George Cukor film but it doesn't help matters by updating the plot to the 1980s. Instead of John Barrymore's alcoholic we get Hamlin's cocaine addict and it just feels off and Bacall lacks Marie Dressler's comedic timing. Greene does what she can with the brassy Jean Harlow role but try as she might, she can't fake the sex appeal. The source material is good enough that it doesn't need the updating.  Chalk it up to a misfire. Directed by Ron Lagomarsino. With Julia Sweeney, Stacy Edwards, Joel Brooks and Tim Kazurinsky.

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