Monday, September 25, 2017

The Freshman (1990)

The Freshman (1990): written and directed by Andrew Bergman; starring Matthew Broderick (Clark Kellogg), Marlon Brando (Carmine Sabatini), Bruno Kirby (Victor Ray), Penelope Ann Miller (Tina Sabatini), Frank Whaley (Steve Bushak), Jon Polito (Chuck Greenwood),, Paul Benedict (Prof. Fleeber), Maximillian Schell ('Larry London'), B.D. Wong (Edward), and Monitor Lizards (Komodo Dragon): 

Classic screwball comedy from... 1990? Marlon Brando gives his funniest, warmest performance in, possibly, ever. As in 'intentionally funny.' He plays the 'real' basis for the character of Don Corleone of the Godfather series, New York 'importer' Carmine Sabatini, aka 'Jimmy the Toucan' ("No one actually calls him that," notes his spitfire daughter Tina to the Godfather-loving film professor played wonderfully by Paul Benedict). 

For some reason, freshman NYU film student Matthew Broderick catches Brando's interest. And after a somewhat slow first 20 minutes, The Freshman rockets off into scene after scene of inspired lunacy and surprisingly affecting sentiment. Broderick and Brando make a terrific team. One wishes for more scenes between them, or perhaps another movie. 

Writer-director Andrew Bergman (writer or co-writer of such comedies as Blazing Saddles, The In-Laws, and Fletch) really should have had a bigger Hollywood career -- when he's good, he's very good. Recommended.

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