The Pick-up Artist | Chicago Reader

The Pick-up Artist

James Toback's fourth feature translates the macho/manic obsessions of the previous three (as well as The Gambler, which he scripted) into a light and fairly innocuous youth picture. At once easier to take and easier to forget than his more feverish efforts, this romantic thriller set in New York and environs (with a side trip to Atlantic City), nicely shot by Gordon Willis, is all sweetness and light compared to the pseudo-Dostoyevskian bombast of Fingers and Exposed. Molly Ringwald, Bob Downey, Mildred Dunnock, Danny Aiello, and even scroungy Dennis Hopper and sinister Harvey Keitel come across like charming refugees from a John Hughes teenpic. It's hard to know exactly how this came about, but apparently Warren Beatty, the ghost producer, had the final cut.

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