• Film
  • Comedy
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Julian Barry's adaptation of his own stage play has all the worst faults of the Hollywood biopic: Lenny Bruce's complex life and personality are manhandled into the fable of an eager Jewish kid working second-rate clubs, who courts his future wife with flowers, rises to fame by being 'true to his art', and finds life at the top fraught with drugs, marital problems and notoriety. The monochrome photography and pseudo-documentary interpolations can't disguise the basic Harold Robbins material, and the good performances (Hoffman and Perrine) stand little chance against Fosse's withering direction: the subject matter needs far defter psychological handling than it gets. There are two powerful nightclub scenes carried by Hoffman, but otherwise Bruce emerges quite unfairly as little more than a tiresome, self-obsessed trouper.

Release details

Duration: 111 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Bob Fosse
Screenwriter: Julian Barry
Cast: Gary Morton
Valerie Perrine
Stanley Beck
Jan Miner
Rashel Novikoff
Dustin Hoffman
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