In 1942 in the Bronx, Evelyn Kurnitz has just passed away following a lengthy illness. Her husband, Eddie Kurnitz, needs to take a job as a traveling salesman to pay off the medical bills incurred, and decides to ask his stern and straight talking mother, from who he is slightly estranged, if his two early-teen sons, Jay and Arty (who their Grandma call by their full given names, Yakob and Arthur), can live with her and their Aunt Bella Kurnitz in Yonkers. She reluctantly agrees after a threat by Bella. Despite their Grandma owning and operating a candy store, Jay and Arty don't like their new living situation as they're afraid of their Grandma, and find it difficult to relate to their crazy Aunt Bella, whose slow mental state is manifested by perpetual excitability and a short attention span, which outwardly comes across as a childlike demeanor. Into their collective lives returns one of Eddie and Bella's other siblings, Louie Kurnitz, a henchman for some gangsters. He is hiding out ...Written by
After a triumphant run on Broadway, the film adaptation of "Lost In Yonkers" was completely snubbed at all of the major film awards ceremonies. Neil Simon's classic is brilliantly written and the direction is so simple, yet very subtle. But what really makes the film work is the performances. Dreyfuss is no Kevin Spacey, but does what he can with the role. The two boys are played expertly by their respective actors. Irene Worth reprises her Tony-award winning role and I thank god for that. She is spectacular as the stern grandmother.
But the stand-out here is Mercedes Ruehl. The woman delivers one of the most underrated performances in film history as Aunt Bella. She won a Tony, why no Oscar? Seriously, she is *that* good. Ruehl delivers such a magnificent performance as the slightly disturbed woman. She really should have two Oscars on her mantle.
GRADE: A ACTING: A WRITING: A+ DIRECTING: B MVP: RUEHL
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