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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.69%
Worth A Look: 15.38%
Pretty Bad: 7.69%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 7 user ratings

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People I Know
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by EricDSnider

"Al Pacino: good. Movie: not very good."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2003 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Aside from a characteristically fine performance by Al Pacino, the misshapen "People I Know" is not especially worth knowing. In fact, it barely seems to know itself.

Pacino plays Eli Wurman, an aging New York publicist with a dwindling client list. Eli, a Georgia transplant, is of the old school (he refuses to get a cell phone), from the days when a press agent's main job was to get his clients mentioned on the Page Six gossip column of the New York Post. Today, he's down to one major client, big-shot movie star Cary Launer (Ryan O'Neal), whose opium den activities with a TV starlet (Tea Leoni) lead to trouble.

They lead to trouble with the film, too, as the tone begins shifting haphazardly back and forth between character dramedy and whodunit skulduggery. It is the latter that gets the short shrift; as a result, every scene devoted to those matters seems out of place.

Written by Jon Robin Baitz and directed by Daniel Algrant, the film ought to have stayed with Eli Wurman, a man who is good at heart but who is exhausted from his decades of cleaning up people's messes. Pacino plays him close to his character in "Insomnia": bedraggled, weary and in dire need of a break. More on his slow realization of his own obsolescence would have been welcome, for there is potential for fine drama (and comedy) in that.

The film is not without its charms, though. Kim Basinger gets a few nice moments as Eli's sister-in-law, and Mark Webber is a breath of levity as Eli's perpetually harried assistant. And frankly, it is always a treat to watch Pacino be fantastic, even when the movie isn't.

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originally posted: 01/27/03 17:48:46
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/16/09 mr.mike Is no bad. 3 stars
6/02/06 Jack Sommersby Scripting isn't so great, but Pacino and pacing make it OK viewing. 3 stars
4/24/03 J Woods Fascinating existential comment on the futility of it all. 4 stars
4/24/03 armand landers good charcterzation, drama/thriller movie, 70s style realism 4 stars
1/23/03 Mr Math Fair... decent... but not great. 3 stars
1/15/03 Max Excellent...SHOULD BE RELEASED IN DEC FOR"OSCAR" REASONS 5 stars
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  25-Apr-2003 (R)
  DVD: 26-Apr-2011



Directed by
  Daniel Algrant

Written by
  Jon Robin Baitz

  Al Pacino
  Ryan O'Neal
  Téa Leoni
  Kim Basinger
  Robert Klein
  Sophie Dahl

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