Review: ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’

The film version of Portnoy's Complaint is not trashy, tawdry, cheap, offensively vulgar, and pruriently titillating. Instead, it is a most effective, honest in context, necessarily strong and appropriately bawdy study in ruinous self-indulgence.

The film version of Portnoy’s Complaint is not trashy, tawdry, cheap, offensively vulgar, and pruriently titillating. Instead, it is a most effective, honest in context, necessarily strong and appropriately bawdy study in ruinous self-indulgence.

Besides adapting the Philip Roth novel into a lucid, balanced and moral screenplay, and producing handsomely on various locations, Ernest Lehman makes an excellent directorial debut. Richard Benjamin heads an outstanding cast.

Alexander Portnoy’s hangup derives from heterosexual masturbation fantasies, and the first 44 minutes constitute the slap-happy, kinky exposition of his development. But what the story then pulls an audience into is the inevitable consequence.

Portnoy's Complaint

Production

Warner/Chenault. Director Ernest Lehman; Producer Ernest Lehman, Sidney Beckerman; Screenplay Ernest Lehman; Camera Philip Lathrop; Editor Sam O'Steen, Gordon Scott; Music Michel Legrand; Art Director Robert F. Boyle

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Richard Benjamin Karen Black Lee Grant Jack Somack Jeannie Berlin Jill Clayburgh
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