Author! Author! (1982)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Domestic Comedy, Showbiz Comedy  |   Release Date - Jun 18, 1982 (USA)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Perry Seibert

Author! Author! strives to be both a heartwarming domestic comedy about single fatherhood and a barbed show business satire. On the domestic front Travalian (Al Pacino) has a brood of five children, four of them from his wife's former marriages. When she finally leaves him, he alone must care for these kids he loves as if they were his own. As for work, Travalian's new play is running into production and rewrite problems. Although this material has been done to death in other films, Alan King and the great comic duo Bob and Ray make their scenes spark and bring out a wackier side of Pacino than audiences had seen before. As these two worlds begin to encroach on each other, the film weakens. There is a scene where Travalian is supposed to meet his new leading lady (a charming Dyan Cannon) for dinner. Having nothing else to do with them, the kids all come along. As good as the cast is, they are unable to make this situation (which is most certainly written for laughs) seem either plausible, or giddily screwball enough to enjoy. Although director Arthur Hiller is unable to make these two story lines gel, there are individual moments that work quite well. Pacino obviously enjoyed playing with the child actors, Eric Gurry gives a very winning performance as Travalian's oldest son, and Tuesday Weld does a fine job with the underwritten role of the abandoning mother, but one gets the sense that had the filmmakers focused on one story over the other, the movie would have had more energy.