Review: ‘It’s Showtime the Man in the Attic’

Filmed in Toronto by Atlantis Films, Donald March Prods. and CBS Entertainment Prods. Exec producers, Peter Sussman, Donald March; co-exec producer, James Nadler; producer, Brian Parker; director, Greame Campbell; writers, Duane Poole, Tom Swale; story from "Sex and the Criminal Mind" by Norman Winski; camera, Dick Bush; editor, Ralph Brunjes; production designer, Susan Longmire; art director, Alta Louise Doyle; sound, Jack Buchannan; music, Lou Natale; song "My Heart of Hearts" by Natale. Cast: Anne Archer, Len Cariou, Neil Patrick Harris, Alex Carter, Deborah Drakeford, Rick Roberts, Martha Cronyn , Toby Proctor, Nahanni Johnstone, Judith Orban, Bruce Vavrina, Richard Liss, James Mainprize, Pixie Bigelow, Tedde Moore, Sam Malkin, James Binkley. Writers Duane Poole and Tom Swale, adapting Norman Winski's reportage of a true story, have tried being outrageous but have ended up with a tiresome account of a woman stashing her young lover in the attic over the years while her older husband, Joe, suspects nothing. Usually adroit director Greame Campbell can't pull much credibility out of this one.

Filmed in Toronto by Atlantis Films, Donald March Prods. and CBS Entertainment Prods. Exec producers, Peter Sussman, Donald March; co-exec producer, James Nadler; producer, Brian Parker; director, Greame Campbell; writers, Duane Poole, Tom Swale; story from “Sex and the Criminal Mind” by Norman Winski; camera, Dick Bush; editor, Ralph Brunjes; production designer, Susan Longmire; art director, Alta Louise Doyle; sound, Jack Buchannan; music, Lou Natale; song “My Heart of Hearts” by Natale. Cast: Anne Archer, Len Cariou, Neil Patrick Harris, Alex Carter, Deborah Drakeford, Rick Roberts, Martha Cronyn , Toby Proctor, Nahanni Johnstone, Judith Orban, Bruce Vavrina, Richard Liss, James Mainprize, Pixie Bigelow, Tedde Moore, Sam Malkin, James Binkley. Writers Duane Poole and Tom Swale, adapting Norman Winski’s reportage of a true story, have tried being outrageous but have ended up with a tiresome account of a woman stashing her young lover in the attic over the years while her older husband, Joe, suspects nothing. Usually adroit director Greame Campbell can’t pull much credibility out of this one.

Shallow Krista (Anne Archer), whose teenage son dies in 1910, takes his best friend, orphaned naif Edward (Neil Patrick Harris), 18, to her bed and bosom. From the first seduction, he’s hooked. Husband Joe (Len Cariou) catches the pair in bed, chastises Krista and banishes Edward. But Edward’s back upstairs in his hiding place, where he listens in on happenings via air ducts, cooks the meals and cleans the house. It’s those air shafts that do in the odd duo when Krista picks up with an Arrow Collar-type lawyer (Alex Carter) while Edward listens in. The period piece drops a swing tune into a 1910 setting, speaks of catching a newsreel when they didn’t turn up until 1911, drops 1930s sound-alike pop music into 1917 settings and drags out a tale about unsympathetic people who create no magic. Archer makes Krista tiring; Cariou’s Joe’s a stereotype, while Harris’ stricken Edward just seems stupid. Story is told by way of a reporter interviewing Edward in a jail cell to get his side of events, but the cell scenes don’t ring true. Dick Bush’s lensing and Ralph Brunjes’ editing are satisfactory, and production designer Susan Longmire makes an adequate stab at establishing backgrounds. Lou Natale’s score, aside from the improperly scored dance songs, serves well enough.

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