All Night Long (1981) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for sexuality and language
Running Time: 87 min.
Cast: Gene Hackman, Barbra Streisand, Diane Ladd, Dennis Quaid, Kevin Dobson, William Daniels, Chris Mulkey
Director: Jean-Claude Tramont
Screenplay: W.D. Richter
Review published August 29, 2007
A misfire mid-life crisis comedy featuring a miscast Barbra Streisand (Nuts, Meet the Fockers) as the alluring sexpot wife that becomes the catalyst for a middle-aged married man's marriage crumble. Gene Hackman (Superman, Superman II) stars as George Dupler, a career executive who blows a fuse with his boss when passed up for a promotion one time too many. He gets demoted to the night manager of one of the company's all-night drugstore outlets. His son Freddie (Quaid, Breaking Away) is cavorting with his married cousin, Cheryl , but soon, George finds himself engaging in his own affair with the bored housewife. Dissatisfied with his job and home life, all signs point to a man on the verge of implosion.
Perhaps men going through a middle-age crisis themselves will find some humor in this subject matter, but it's strictly a mixed bag in nearly all other respects. The best I could say about the film is that it features a solid performance by Hackman, who perfectly plays a man on the edge while still maintaining believability. He certainly breathes life among a group of one-dimensional characters drawn up to incite laughs more than anything else. Streisand signed on at the last-second, replacing Jill Eichhorn, reportedly becoming the highest-paid actress in a film up to that point. Although she gives it her all, it's just not a role suited for her -- Marilyn Monroe she ain't.
W.D. Richter's (Big Trouble in Little China, Stealth) follow-up to his Oscar-nominated script for Brubaker crafts this intriguing, relatively unpredictable storyline, but ultimately, it just doesn't quite come together in a way that sends its themes of complacency and dropping out in life home. French director Tramont keeps the tone light, despite the heaviness of the material, and does, at the very least, see the comedy in the rather tragic situations for its protagonist.
Fans of Hackman and Babs might find it passable fare, especially those who have ever experienced a time in their lives when hey felt the need to give up everything they are in order to finally be their own person. Without this ultimate message underneath, All Night Long is fairly spotty material, more goofy than it is witty. It's a flick one only remembers as a handful of interesting moments more so than as a wholly immersive experience.
©2007 Vince Leo