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Critic's Pick

'Mr. Saturday Night'

October 02, 1994|Kenneth Turan

Written by the hot team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, this 1992 look at a half- century in the life and times of battling comic Buddy Young Jr. (Billy Crystal, pictured) is as funny a film as Crystal has done. He not only stars in the film but also makes his debut as a director--an instance of overreaching. Crystal spent nearly a decade developing the material on the Borscht Belt generation of stand-up comics who moved on to the plusher pastures of TV. While Crystal must be credited for the pains he has gone to show us the unappealing, egocentric side of Buddy, his heart isn't in making the comic a moral monster. Unfortunately, Crystal's turn toward sentimentality, not sentiment, is the film's least appealing tendency (Showtime Wednesday at 9:35 p.m.).

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