Review by Brian Koller|
2½ stars out of 4
"My Favorite Year" is not a great film, but
it is an entertaining comedy that provides several
memorable characters. The basic story is good,
and the film is well-cast. However, the film
does drag in the middle, some scenes don't quite
work, and there is an unnecessary mobster subplot.
Peter O'Toole has a great role as a former matinee
star, a swashbuckling action hero in the style of
Errol Flynn. He has since taken to drink and
philandering, although he retains enough fame to
merit an appearance on the 1954 series "The King
Kaiser Show". Kaiser (Joseph Bologna) is an amusing,
impulsive comic. His staff includes young comic
writer Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker), whose love
interest is gopher Jessica Harper.
Linn-Baker is assigned to keep O'Toole out of
trouble while the show is in production. Predictably,
O'Toole is heedless of Linn-Baker's protestations,
instead taking him on a series of drunken adventures
in New York.
Mel Brooks produced "My Favorite Year", and the
story idea came from his experiences with Errol Flynn
when he was a young comic writer on the Sid Caesar show.
Richard Benjamin directed instead of Brooks, leading
to a more subtle comedy. Still, not all of the scenes
work, such as when O'Toole steals a horse, or dines
with Linn-Baker's starstruck extended family.
But some of the gags are very funny, especially O'Toole
crashing a party by swinging down from a fire hose.
O'Toole briefly rejuvenated his career with his performance,
earning a Best Actor Academy Award nomination.
I also liked the romance between Linn-Baker and Harper,
especially the scene where he attempts in vain to
teach her how to tell a joke. The off-and-on humor
makes for half of a great movie, which is a much
larger portion than most comedies have.
Copyright © 1999 Brian Koller