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Overall Rating
3.25

Awesome: 16.67%
Worth A Look: 25%
Average29.17%
Pretty Bad: 25%
Total Crap: 4.17%

2 reviews, 12 user ratings



King of the Corner
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by Jay Seaver

"We should all have this guy's problems."
2 stars

SEEN AT THE 2004 BOSTON FILM FESTIVAL: I hate to bag on Peter Riegert and his film, since unlike many festival guests, he introduced and did Q&A for all four screenings and even seemed somewhat familiar with the area, discussing which theaters his film might get a chance to play in. But let's face it; movies like this are among the main reasons people say they hate independent film.

I'm all for building a movie primarily based on characters, but I've also got a preference for stories that aren't quite so grounded in everyday experience that I stand a good chance of hearing a version with different names by simply asking my next-door neighbors what was going on with their lives. I can get that for free, any time.

What makes it more irritating is that the protagonist (Riegert) is a complete ingrate. The problems his Leo Spivak has probably sound pretty appealing to the audience. Like his obnoxious father Sol (Eli Wallach) in an Arizona retirement community; sure, it's far away, but it's where papa chose to be and, hey, you can afford to fly cross-country from New York and visit him every other weekend. Or his "out of control" only child Elena (Ashley Johnson), who is pretty, unpiereced, doing homework practically every time we see her and on the one time she and her boyfriend are out past curfew, suggests grounding her for two weeks as a reasonable response. Oh, and he's married to Isabella Rosselini. Any woes he may have, he brings upon himself, generally in ways that really defy logical explanation.

And I realize that that's sort of the point, that like most of the audience for this film, Leo has a pretty good life but allows his daily aggravations to skew his perspective, and it takes blah blah blah. What it takes is ninety minutes of watching Leo bitch and moan and generally act like a jerk, and then there's the anecdote from which the title is drawn, and then I guess we're supposed to mist up.

Most descriptions I've seen for this movie involve the word "comedy" somewhere, and I can see where it makes an earnest attempt or two, but it just doesn't happen. Characters who are supposed to be idiosyncratic just come off as strange. There's also one intensely annoying scene in the nursing home about two-thirds of the way through the movie, which I think is going for "darkly comic" but fails in part because the back-and-forth banter mores at too slow a pace and in part because I have real trouble imagining the scene the two characters describe visually. I'm not sure how much of this falls on writer/director/star Riegert and how much comes from the source material (a collection of short stories by Gerald Shapiro), but does it matter?

Pretty much every minute of King of the Corner feels banal or unlikely, and the "unlikely" is seldom entertainingly unlikely.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10739&reviewer=371
originally posted: 09/21/04 06:42:09
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Boston Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Boston Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/10/13 PAUL SHORTT MILDLY ENTERTAINING 3 stars
11/24/07 Thomas Semesky Skip this one, a time waster. Not one character that stands out. 1 stars
9/20/05 Anthea I found the film well acted, extremely funny and warm hearted. I am 53 and I get it. 4 stars
8/08/05 Janet Keller Absolutely dead on in its love for people, family and religion (and not only Jewish--I'm ). 4 stars
8/07/05 Lori Fabulous! 5 stars
4/21/05 Jeff Pierson Excellent film! 5 stars
4/14/05 DAKO VERY GOOD DISCUSSION MOVIE 4 stars
4/12/05 r. jos. f. qiurky; funny;Wallach was very good 4 stars
4/10/05 Kevin Hanson wonderful film, beyong the usual melodramatic dreck 5 stars
3/29/05 Philip McCarthy Ranking this lower than National Treasure is insane. 4 stars
3/29/05 jane c terrific little film - avaerage guy with average problems - a refreshing change 4 stars
2/28/05 Jeff Pierson Wonderful Film- like Death of a saleman, but better ending 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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