Documentary film-maker Bob Sanders and his wife Carol attend a group therapy session that serves as the backdrop for the opening scenes of the film. Returning to their Los Angeles home, the... See full summary »
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An aspiring Jewish actor moves out of his parents' Brooklyn apartment to seek his fortune in the bohemian life of Greenwich Village in 1953. He struggles to come to terms with his feelings about his mother's overbearing nature, while also trying to maintain his relationship with his girlfriend. Written by
Writer-director Paul Mazursky's ode to his colorful hungry years, and the experience of leaving home for the first time and setting out on your own. Cheeky Jewish graduate from Brooklyn in 1953 relocates to the Village, getting an apartment, a semi-serious girlfriend, and a spot in the avant garde crowd. Though his mother disapproves, our hero, working in a health food shop, studies to be an actor, gets his girl pregnant, and clearly sees the dreams and hopes of his new friends flair up and fizzle out--yet never losing his own personal ambition. Mazursky, who also co-produced the film, has created a meticulously-detailed encapsulation of a particular time and place, peopled with characters one can easily recognize. There's a sweet simplicity in the protagonist's friendships--and with his over-protective parents--but nothing is really nuanced for us. Mazursky lays it all right there on the surface (which is why the film will work best on a first-time viewing: everything you need to catch can be caught). While it isn't always subtle, and the gloppy cinematography and poor lighting sometimes causes the actors to look a bit frightful, the movie has a very big heart. This is detectable early on, yet it isn't until the finale that you come to appreciate what the characters have gone through (the parents as well). The picture is also a showcase for lots of budding talent circa 1976, with Chris Walken, Antonio Fargas, Dori Brenner, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Egan, and John C. Becher all doing terrific bits of business. In the lead, Lenny Baker is photographed very badly (with his jagged teeth glinting in the movie lights), but he warms to his role, and by the finish has created a three-dimensional man whom we really hope will succeed. **1/2 from ****
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