(1994)4Robert FirschingJennifer Jason Leigh turns in a fascinatingly odd performance in this depressing but lovingly crafted film about the acerbic Dorothy Parker. Tracing her life in flashbacks, the film wisely focuses on the halcyon days of the Algonquin Round Table, where New York's top writers drank, laughed, and traded virulently witty put-downs. In these sequences, director Alan Rudolph presents a keenly observed look at the incestuous and ultimately destructive nature of the tightly-knit group, as the fun times soon turn to betrayal, alcoholism, and attempted suicide. The cast is wonderful, with surprisingly good turns from Matthew Broderick and Andrew McCarthy, among others, but some of the film's artistic conceits and its downbeat tone may turn off potential viewers. Its effect depends primarily on whether you buy Leigh's interpretation of her role, which is unusual to say the least. If you do, you'll find this quirky, offbeat picture to be richly rewarding despite its uneven pace.
releases for Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle on AllMovie