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TURN-ONS AND TURN-OFFS IN CURRENT HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES : ****Excellent ***Good **Fair *Poor : VIDEOCASSETTES

July 14, 1987|TERRY ATKINSON | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"A New Leaf." Paramount. $29.95. After "Ishtar" and "Mikey and Nicky," Elaine May's reputation as a writer-director is being picked over by the vultures. The video release of "A New Leaf," then, comes just in time to remind us how very good she can be in both roles--or at least could be in 1971 (she also directed--but didn't write--the highly regarded "The Heartbreak Kid" the next year). Her first film, "A New Leaf," has Walter Matthau as an aging playboy whose desperation for funds leads him to think about marriage and murder, as distasteful as he finds both--and to a klutzy heiress (May) whose passion is botany. A rather choppy comedy (May was not allowed final edit), "A New Leaf" is still a hard-shelled, sweet-centered pleasure. Matthau's the perfect conniver (again) and May is charming. Information: (213) 468-5000. ***

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