Reuben, Reuben

The worst kind of screenwriters' cinema: Tom Conti, as a drunken poet on the college lecture circuit, reads the gratingly arch dialogue of Julius J. Epstein (who was one of the writers on Casablanca) as if it were a treasured text from Congreve or Wilde. Meanwhile, there is no direction (or rather, there is the direction of Robert Ellis Miller) to hold Epstein's precious quips together; they float over an absolute void of supporting characterization, dramatic structure, and physical presence. The moral is that old chestnut from Auntie Mame and every other would-be cult film: that we need obnoxious, grubbing boors around us to teach us how to live. With Roberts Blossom and Kelly McGillis.

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