Author! Author! (1982)

Rewatching for my The Complete Pacino list.

In all of Al Pacino’s previous work so far, there’s only been one where he has been able to demonstrate any sense of a comedic side, and that was Scarecrow (don’t be fooled, it’s more physical than riotous laugh-out-loud comedy).

There are touches of the lighter side of the actor here too, and it would be fair to say that he is by far the best thing about this awful family drama. I can only guess that writers Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding (who also play cameos as producers of a stage play) are taking out their revenge on the women who have wronged them in real life by ensuring that none of the women in this film have any redeeming features whatsoever, and by having the shambling author (Pacino) be the hero on their behalf.

Tuesday Weld and Dyan Cannon are, between them, sleeping with other people, leaving their children all over the country with their different fathers, drinking champagne and taking pills at the same time, jealous, insecure, flaky. Pacino’s character not only gets through a difficult pre-production on his play while his wife is leaving him, he manages to keep the children (not all of whom are his) happy, safe and cared for. Pacino is great with the younger actors, in one of those storylines where the adults behave like children and the children behave like grown-ups should.

I’m guessing Al had bills to pay, because this is miles away from most of his previous work.


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