To make a clinker out of a gift of a subject like silent movie-making is some feat, yet Peter Bogdanovich manages it with honours. Set between 1910 and 1915, Nickelodeon spends ages muddling the protagonists' lives and their suitcases before they settle down to make pictures. Despite some comic intentions, the film takes itself far too seriously as a hommage to the movie pioneers. But with Bogdanovich's yearning nostalgia totally lacking in perspective, this dreary recreation becomes entirely a work of the past tense; certainly there's no wit, pace or enthusiasm to suggest that it's alive. The direction is agonisingly pedantic for a comedy, and leaves O'Neal and Reynolds totally exposed, mugging away in charmless and clumsy fashion.