Another theatrical metaphor fails to transfer to the screen. This adaptation of Michael Frayn's stage hit undoubtedly has its moments, but will still disappoint those who laughed themselves silly at the original. Frayn's play is literally a set piece: the humour derives from the way his cast of farceurs eminently succeed in tripping over the furniture, and suffering havoc from every prop, every technical and personal nightmare known to the business. Bogdanovich's film neither reproduces the tableau immediacy of the original, nor opens it up sufficiently as Peter Yates did with The Dresser. The result is almost always frustrating, the camera often cutting away from the point of a scene or an exchange, and the early part of the film flags badly before the giddy mayhem of the climax. Reeve (as a squeamish matinee idol) and Elliott (as the veteran drunk) turn in top-rate performances. Not good or fun enough, though.
Cast and crew