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Buddy Young was the comic's comic, beloved by everyone. Now, playing to miniscule crowds in nursing homes, it seems like everybody but Buddy realizes that he should retire. As Buddy looks for work in show business, he realizes that the rest of the world has forgotten the golden days of Buddy Young, and that there just may not be room in the business for an old comic like himself. Written by
Michael Silva <email@example.com>
Billy Crystal's directorial debut was not a big success mainly due to the fact that people had no idea how multi-faceted he had the ability to be. This is not a comedy. This is a very moving drama about a comedian and his life, both public and private. There are several highly insightful moments and some real movie magic present. I assume Crystal had help with his directing, as there are a few crafty camera shots. I personally don't mind that most critics overlooked this movie, but I am very glad that the Academy recognized David Paymer, as Crystal's watching-from-the-wings brother, with a Best Supporting Actor nomination. He and Crystal play off each other wonderfully. They act so much like brothers throughout the years of the film, Paymer's last name might actually be Crystal.
Helen Hunt, Ron Silver, and Jerry Orbach have good roles, albeit fairly small. There are also several cameos, including Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. They co-wrote the movie with Crystal, and this duo have their names on Happy Days episodes, as well as a slew of films. This information is helpful to the humor when they appear as a couple of goofy young writers.
This fine film is not without a couple of drawbacks. The make-up job on Crystal and Paymer in their old age is far from realistic. This aspect of the film needed Rick Baker. The other item that detracts this from being a truly great film is that it is essentially a biography of a fictional person who isn't a very nice guy. The movie has a few moments where it wants the viewer to feel sorry for him for ruining his own life. To me, however, it is great storytelling and wonderful acting. It is sad, poignant, and, upon first viewing in 1992, nothing I expected from the mind of Billy Crystal.
If you've never seen this picture because you have heard too many negative things, please give it a viewing. You could very well be surprised.
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