The Fortune | Chicago Reader

The Fortune

When is a comedy not a comedy? When it becomes preoccupied with death at the expense of character? Perhaps. There is, after all, a fine line between black comedy (Dr. Strangelove, The Trouble With Harry) and thinly disguised distaste for human beings in general—and Mike Nichols has shown repeatedly that he has no qualms about erasing that line. Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty star as two thoroughly reprehensible yahoos whose complicated romantic escapade with a tampon heiress (Stockard Channing) leads to total surrender to venality and hatred. Redeemed a bit by Adrien Joyce's Preston Sturges-inspired screenplay, Nichols's film is nonetheless as unfunny as Carnal Knowledge, and just as vicious (1975).

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