Illuminata (1998)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Farce, Period Film, Showbiz Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 6, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - Spain , Japan , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

Actor John Turturro takes his second shot behind the camera with this semi-successful romantic comedy that fails only because it's too much of a good thing. Just as in his semi-autobiographical directorial debut Mac (1992), Turturro goes overboard with fleshed-out characters, subplots galore, and a sometimes overly languid pace that clashes with his attempts at physical humor. The end results are fleeting moments that shine (anything involving Christopher Walken as a rapacious, gay theater critic is worth the price of admission) but an overall feeling of self-indulgence that erodes the viewer's good will. As they knit together a half-dozen plots and character arcs with some unnecessary backstage slapstick and political proselytizing, Turturro and co-screenwriter Brandon Cole wear out their welcome. The director of Illuminata (1998) has got the talent and drive to get some arresting people and situations on film, but he needs badly to heed the old writers' adage, "Kill all your darlings." In other words, in both the script stage and the editing room: cut, man, cut.