Life with Mikey (1993)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Comedy, Showbiz Comedy  |   Release Date - Jun 4, 1993 (USA)  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Dan Friedman

Directors who have great success in the theatre are often lured to film through either talent or ego, with naturally varying degrees of success, such as Sam Mendes and his work on American Beauty. Another noted stage director, James Lapine, perhaps best known for his work with Steven Sondheim, took the plunge with the well-intentioned comedy Life With Mikey, featuring Michael J. Fox as a former child star turned agent and Nathan Lane in one of his first major film roles as his brother. What's disappointing is how disjointed the film is, considering that it has some very funny moments, particularly from the younger cast which features Christina Vidal and David Krumholtz, who has perhaps the single best line in the film when he compares himself to Job. Unfortunately, the viewer may also feel like Job when the film is finished. Fox tries hard and he's rather likable but everything seems forced, particularly his scenes where he and Vidal are supposed to be expanding their relationship from agent/client to genuine affection. The overall idea is pretty sound, it's just never fully realized. It's obvious that Fox is supposed to prevent Vidal from having the miserable show business childhood he had, but it's never clear that they are moving in the right direction despite the feel-good ending. Perhaps the most interesing thing to be said for the film is the huge number of theater folk who have been given cameos, including the playwrights Wendy Wasserstein and Christopher Durang but unless one is a true maven of the theater, you don't know it's them unless you sit through the end credits. By that time, it's probably too late. Cyndi Lauper also does a somewhat credible appearance as the secretary.