Review: ‘Max Dugan Returns’

Max Dugan Returns is a consistently happy comedic fable which should please romanticists drawn to a teaming of Neil Simon, Marsha Mason and Herbert Ross. Once more, Simon's pen turns to the problems of parental relationships # especially reunion after long estrangement # but largely leaves aside any heavy emotional involvement or rapid fire comedy.

Max Dugan Returns is a consistently happy comedic fable which should please romanticists drawn to a teaming of Neil Simon, Marsha Mason and Herbert Ross. Once more, Simon’s pen turns to the problems of parental relationships # especially reunion after long estrangement # but largely leaves aside any heavy emotional involvement or rapid fire comedy.

Struggling to raise a 15-year-old son (Matthew Broderick) on a meagre teacher’s salary, widow Mason maintains a wonderful attitude as her refrigerator breaks, her old car barely runs but gets stolen to boot, and life generally never quite works. Broderick is a good kid who accepts her poor-but-honest morality very well. In addition, there’s a budding romance with Donald Sutherland, an exceptionally intelligent detective who’s investigating the theft of her car.

Out of a dark night, however, returns Max Dugan (Jason Robards), the father who abandoned Mason when she was nine years old. Dying of a heart ailment, Robards is carrying a satchel full of remorse and a suitcase crammed with cash left over from a checkered career in Las Vegas.

Max Dugan Returns

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Herbert Ross; Producer Herbert Ross, Neil Simon; Screenplay Neil Simon; Camera David M. Walsh; Editor Richard Marks; Music David Shire; Art Director Albert Brenner

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Marsha Mason Jason Robards Donald Sutherland Matthew Broderick Dody Goodman Sal Viscuso
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