Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1982. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Brooksfilms. Story by Dennis Palumbo, Screenplay by Dennis Palumbo, Norman Steinberg. Cinematography by Gerald Hirschfeld. Produced by Michael Gruskoff. Music by Ralph Burns. Production Design by Charles Rosen. Costume Design by May Routh. Film Editing by Richard Chew. Academy Awards 1982. Golden Globe Awards 1982. New York Film Critics Awards 1982.
Mark Linn-Baker stars as a young writer on a 1950s talk show who is recruited to babysit an alcoholic, once-famous Errol Flynn-esque movie star (Peter O’Toole at his most outlandish) until he appears on their program as a guest. Excited to finally meet his movie idol, our young hero is thrown into a series of unfortunate adventures that have him bouncing all over New York state in an effort to keep O’Toole from harm or, worse, not appearing on the show. O’Toole gives one of his most beloved performances in this wonderful movie, as does Lainie Kazan as Linn-Baker’s overbearing but kind mother (whose scenes with O’Toole are among the film’s most enjoyable). Terrific comedy, with a big heart at its centre, this is probably Richard Benjamin’s best film as director.