Given room to roam as star, director and cowriter, Columbia Pictures obviously hoped that comedian Albert Brooks might break through like Woody Allen. But Allen, too, started slowly and this is only Brooks' second feature after the critically acclaimed but commercially weak Real Life.

Given room to roam as star, director and cowriter, Columbia Pictures obviously hoped that comedian Albert Brooks might break through like Woody Allen. But Allen, too, started slowly and this is only Brooks’ second feature after the critically acclaimed but commercially weak Real Life.

Simplicity and veracity of his story are a plus. Without excessive complications, he plays a nice-enough young fellow who cannot make a permanent commitment to his girl friend, sympathetically portrayed by the beautiful and talented Kathryn Harrold. At first, he dumps her, then immediately regrets it and goes crazy trying to get her back. Succeeding in that, he starts aggravating her with jealousies.

Many scenes play far beyond the laughs they’re worth. At the same time, Harrold doesn’t get to round out her part quite as much as she should. One thing Brooks does well, however, is pepper the bit parts with interesting characters who all have a point to make, most particularly Bruno Kirby as his best friend.

When he isn’t fretting about his personal life, Brooks plays a film editor cutting a low-budget sci-fi pic with Kirby for director James L. Brooks (no relation). The brief examination of the cutting room is hilarious as they first patch up a scene with George Kennedy hamming it up in true low-budget style as Zoron the space leader.

Modern Romance

Production

Columbia. Director Albert Brooks; Producer Andrew Scheinman, Martin Shafer; Screenplay Albert Brooks, Monica Johnson; Camera Eric Saarinen; Editor David Finfer; Music Lance Rubin; Art Director Edward Richardson

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Albert Brooks Kathryn Harrold Bruno Kirby Jane Hallaren James L. Brooks George Kennedy
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