A middle aged restaurateur begins to feel the desire to roam and realizes that one day each week, his mother's apartment will be empty all afternoon. He makes several attempts at seduction,...
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A middle aged restaurateur begins to feel the desire to roam and realizes that one day each week, his mother's apartment will be empty all afternoon. He makes several attempts at seduction, only to learn that it is much more complicated and difficult than he could have imagined. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Based on one of many Neil Simon plays that occur within a single room with varied vignettes, this one concerns a man (Arkin) who wakes up and decides that his life is too dull and safe and needs some spark in it. So he daringly and trepidatiously uses his mother's one-room apartment to set up a series of afternoon liaisons with women he finds desirable and each of the trysts has unexpected and mostly comic results. First he meets up with Kellerman, a jaded, sophisticated bitch who has lost most of her feelings, but still enjoys the sensation of sex. Next up is wacky Prentiss, who babbles on endlessly while displaying signs of what this generation calls ADHD and inventing all sorts of possibly-imagined drama for herself. Finally, he invites troubled, married Taylor, who is enduring her own husband's infidelity and wants to pay him back. By the time Arkin has dealt with this trio of misfits, he discovers things about himself that he hadn't originally realized. It goes without saying that the production is stagy in the extreme. The set even contains the ever-present (and much loathed by experienced theatre critics) couch DEAD CENTER in the playing area. Attempts have been made to "open up" the story slightly and extend the ladies' parts a bit, but this only draws attention to the main playing area and the repetition of it all. Arkin gives a fully-committed, deeply thought-out performance in a role that really showcases the female roles more than his own. He, however, isn't always delightful to listen to as he pontificates and screams with regularity. Kellerman is perfect for her part and has some funny throwaway lines (notably after she coughs for an eternity and then asks for something besides water afterwards.) Prentiss also performs admirably in a role that requires a particular brand of nuttiness. Her unusual vocalisms probably would be better suited to the stage, but the whole project is better suited to the stage. Taylor is probably the least endearing of the three, even though her character is likely meant to be the most sympathetic. She, like everyone in the cast - right down to the bit players - seems to be portraying the most strident and grating aspects of a New Yorker. It would almost count as an insult to the people of NYC were it not a project written and directed (and mostly acted!) by true blue New Yorkers! So it had to be intentional. Arkin's voice often sounds exactly like Jerry Seinfeld's. There's a reason that "Seinfeld" was just a half hour long and that he never starred in any films. A person can only take so much. That may be why a little of this film, even though it has some very amusing content at times, goes a long way. By the time Taylor shows up, it's already overstayed its welcome.
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