Alan Arkin puts his hapless schnook characterization to good use in Improper Channels. It’s a screwball comedy that starts slowly, shifts into overdrive, peters out a bit halfway through and then gets its second wind for a fast-paced, down-with-the-computer finish.
He’s an architect, separated from his writer spouse (Mariette Hartley) and precocious five-year-old daughter (Sarah Stevens). And one thing leads to another; the daughter is injured slightly in his camper and when taken to hospital she is thought to have been beaten by her father.
A domineering social worker (Monica Parker) has a computer expert call up all available information on Arkin and the daughter is bundled off by court order to an orphanage. Arkin and Hartley attempt to get her back.
Eric Till’s direction is surefire most of the time, though he’s let down by a script that wants to do too much. Pic was shot under the title of Proper Channels and was changed for reasons not explained.