When Russian saxophone player Vladimir (Williams) visits NY, his experiences back home lead him to defect, leaving family, friends and a familiar culture for the pursuit of pleasure and freedom. But after the initial delirium, he finds that the Big Apple is rife with poverty, racism, unemployment, and mugging. Mazursky's comedy may not exactly be politically profound, with its suggestion that freedom and happiness are relative concepts. But where it scores so highly is not only in its ability to evoke Vladimir's astonishment at the bizarre, sometimes brutal texture of New York life, but also in the generosity it extends to the musician's sad predicament. Even the absurdity and chaos of his department store defection (treated by the surrounding Americans as yet another media spectacle) becomes in Mazursky's hands a heroic moment of private, victorious self-assertion. Romantic humanism may not be fashionable in these cynical cinematic times, but few directors reveal the tragicomic lives of ordinary people with such sensitivity and humour.