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A Jewish man who owns a Brooklyn deli asks his domineering uncle for a loan so he can buy his dream restaurant in Manhattan, but the uncle demands that he give up his Gentile girlfriend even though she's one of the few sources of stability in his somewhat chaotic life. Written by
Determined Copy Editor
This movie was a disaster of sorts in that it failed miserably at the box office perhaps due to its very strong Jewish content. Nevertheless for the Jewish audience it is a fantastic comedy where we laugh at ourselves. There are some flies in the ointment. As always the Jewish boy in question can not have a Jewish girl-friend. Hollywood does not accept the fact that Jews marry Jews and Alby ( a rather fat Elliot Gould!!) is no exception, but his shiksa is worth her weight in gold. A Jewish mother would kill to have a daughter-in-law as caring as Elizabeth is to her diabetic shlemiel of a son. Margaux Hemingway (may she rest in peace) is wonderful in this role. We lost a terrific actress here. The Family is a pastiche of all the stereotypes we Jews love and hate so well: the rich uncle who is a tough businessman with a heart of gold and his bitch of a wife and useless son. The usual hangers-on and assorted nebbishes who work for him are there - God this fits my family to a "T" !!! The scene at the synagogue is wonderful and the Lubliner Rebbe is well interpreted by the great Zvi Scooler. The celebration at the Rumanian restaurant is word for word exact of whatever we had in the 1950's. Shelly Winters is a great actress her role is a treat to watch. Her outburst at the restaurant is the hit of the show. When we heard the audience gasp (99% Jewish) I felt that the movie was an effective comedy - but I also knew that a 99% gentile audience would not see the humour and sadly I was right.
This is a marginal film and must be accepted as such but that is too bad because there is enough in there to amuse everybody. Elliot Gould and his friend Nick played by my favorite cro-magnon Burt Young are a pair of shleppers that you have to love - that piss scene is wild. The scene in Uncle Benjamin's house with the plastic on the chairs must be preserved in a Jewish museum - that is exactly how we were!!! Sid Caesar is Uncle Benjamin and is a delight. His acting ranges from shtick meshuga to Shakespearean pathos. Anyway grab a copy at the local Blockbusters or whatever and invite the family and...enjoy!! To hell with the bad reviews - what do "they" know ?????
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