Frankie And Johnny Are Married

As the vanity film reenactment of a vanity legit venture, "Frankie and Johnny Are Married" sets the bar for unnecessary self-absorption in the mistaken cause of Art. Alas, that doesn't make actually watching it very interesting. TV producer ("Chicago Hope") and tube and occasional bigscreen director Michael Pressman plays himself here -- as do his actress spouse, Lisa Chess, and "Hope" cast member Alan Rosenberg.

With:
With: Lisa Chess, Michael Pressman, Alan Rosenberg, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jillian Armenante, Morgan Nagler, Ann Hearn, Maury Sterling, Linda Klein.

As the vanity film reenactment of a vanity legit venture, “Frankie and Johnny Are Married” sets the bar for unnecessary self-absorption in the mistaken cause of Art. Alas, that doesn’t make actually watching it very interesting. TV producer (“Chicago Hope”) and tube and occasional bigscreen director Michael Pressman plays himself here — as do his actress spouse, Lisa Chess, and “Hope” cast member Alan Rosenberg. Saga of their attempts to mount an Equity-waiver production of Terrence McNally’s “Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune” drastically overestimates novelty of mishaps involved. Beyond the participants’ friends and co-workers, it’s hard to imagine an audience for this professionally packaged exercise in navel gazing.

At the start, he’s frazzled by TV duties and she’s frustrated in her stalled career (which can’t have been helped by a killing resemblance to Helen Hunt). They decide to mount the play as something meaningful they can do together. But production turns into a monetary sinkhole and pal Rosenberg (freely painting himself as obnoxious, uncooperative and childish) proves egomaniacal.

When Rosenberg finally walks, Pressman himself takes the male lead — a decision that seems daft to everyone (including the viewer), though endtitle assures us the couple won “rave reviews.”

Budgetary travails and temperamental thesps are pretty business-as-usual on the boards. Assuming otherwise, very loosely fact-based script never rises above mild humor. During rehearsal and final opening-night segs, we’re meant to share in the magic of creation.

But frankly this “Frankie & Johnny” does not look like anything special, particularly since the play has already been performed by every rep and community theater in the western world. (Not to mention the Al Pacino-Michele Pfeiffer film version, which is oft-mentioned here.)

Decently handled in tech departments if a bit drab-looking, pic isn’t an embarrassment so much as it is simply pointless — except to the Pressmans, who now have spent (presumably) their own money on a second vanity project few will want to see.

David E. Kelley, Mandy Patinkin, Kathy Baker and CBS prez Leslie Moonves are among those playing themselves in cameos.

Frankie And Johnny Are Married

Production: A Ridea Prods. presentation. Produced by Alice West. Co-producer, Daniel Irom. Directed, written by Michael Pressman.

Crew: Camera (color, digital DV-to-35mm), Jacek Laskus; editor, Jeff Freeman; production designer, Lauren Hersholt-Nole; costume designer, Van Ramsey; sound designer (Dolby Digital), Rob Nokes; first assistant director, Daniel Irom; casting, Jeffery Passero. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Cinema of the Americas), Sept. 4, 2003. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Lisa Chess, Michael Pressman, Alan Rosenberg, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jillian Armenante, Morgan Nagler, Ann Hearn, Maury Sterling, Linda Klein.

More Film

  • Get Hard

    Writer Claims 'Get Hard' Ripped Off His 'Prison 101' Idea

    As the vanity film reenactment of a vanity legit venture, “Frankie and Johnny Are Married” sets the bar for unnecessary self-absorption in the mistaken cause of Art. Alas, that doesn’t make actually watching it very interesting. TV producer (“Chicago Hope”) and tube and occasional bigscreen director Michael Pressman plays himself here — as do his […]

  • Charles Rivkin

    CineAsia: Charles Rivkin Looks to Asia as Locomotive for Theatrical Cinema

    As the vanity film reenactment of a vanity legit venture, “Frankie and Johnny Are Married” sets the bar for unnecessary self-absorption in the mistaken cause of Art. Alas, that doesn’t make actually watching it very interesting. TV producer (“Chicago Hope”) and tube and occasional bigscreen director Michael Pressman plays himself here — as do his […]

  • Tax Plan Strikes Fear Among Below

    Hollywood's Below-the-Line Workers Anxious About New Tax Plans

    As the vanity film reenactment of a vanity legit venture, “Frankie and Johnny Are Married” sets the bar for unnecessary self-absorption in the mistaken cause of Art. Alas, that doesn’t make actually watching it very interesting. TV producer (“Chicago Hope”) and tube and occasional bigscreen director Michael Pressman plays himself here — as do his […]

  • Detective Pikachu

    Film News Roundup: Live-Action 'Detective Pikachu' Gets 2019 Release

    As the vanity film reenactment of a vanity legit venture, “Frankie and Johnny Are Married” sets the bar for unnecessary self-absorption in the mistaken cause of Art. Alas, that doesn’t make actually watching it very interesting. TV producer (“Chicago Hope”) and tube and occasional bigscreen director Michael Pressman plays himself here — as do his […]

  • Movie Chain AMC Exploring Investment in

    Movie Chain AMC Exploring Investment in Saudi Arabia

    As the vanity film reenactment of a vanity legit venture, “Frankie and Johnny Are Married” sets the bar for unnecessary self-absorption in the mistaken cause of Art. Alas, that doesn’t make actually watching it very interesting. TV producer (“Chicago Hope”) and tube and occasional bigscreen director Michael Pressman plays himself here — as do his […]

  • SPENCER LOCKE as Melissa Rainier in

    CineAsia: Sony Applies Haptic Technology to 'Insidious: The Last Key' (EXCLUSIVE)

    As the vanity film reenactment of a vanity legit venture, “Frankie and Johnny Are Married” sets the bar for unnecessary self-absorption in the mistaken cause of Art. Alas, that doesn’t make actually watching it very interesting. TV producer (“Chicago Hope”) and tube and occasional bigscreen director Michael Pressman plays himself here — as do his […]

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Rockets to Dominant Social Media Buzz

    As the vanity film reenactment of a vanity legit venture, “Frankie and Johnny Are Married” sets the bar for unnecessary self-absorption in the mistaken cause of Art. Alas, that doesn’t make actually watching it very interesting. TV producer (“Chicago Hope”) and tube and occasional bigscreen director Michael Pressman plays himself here — as do his […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content