The Fortune aims to take the audience back to the days of screwball comedy but only gets them about halfway there. It's a shame because the film's premise is workable and everybody was clearly putting serious effort into giving the film a convincing period feel. However, The Fortune lacks two key elements of the screwball comedy, namely the energy and inventiveness that defines the best examples of the form. Carole Eastman's script is light on both plot development and comedic setpieces and Mike Nichol's direction is too aloof and lacking in zany energy to give these shenanigans the kind of manic spark they need. On the plus side, the performances are very good: Warren Beatty underplays to comedic effect as a Bud Abbott-style straight man, Jack Nicholson shows a contagious delight in his work as a dimwitted schemer and Stockard Channing displays both sex appeal and comic timing as the film's ingénue. The end result drifts along in a pleasant but nondescript manner, never hitting the manic highs of the films it has clearly modeled itself on. To sum up, The Fortune is intermittently amusing but ultimately a misfire.