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Critic's Pick

'Peter's Friends'

October 23, 1994|Peter Rainer

The most surprising thing about this 1992 film is that even after you make all the obvious allowances for how jokey and cloying it is, it still makes you laugh--a lot. It's been heralded as a British "Big Chill," and that's not entirely accurate. What's more, Kenneth Branagh, who directed from a script by co-star Rita Rudner (left) and Martin Bregman, brings something theatrical to the mix. The film opens in 1982 with a bawdy, low-grade New Year's musical performed by a troupe of graduating collegians. Now, 10 years later, Peter (Stephen Fry) has invited his old classmates to his family's country estate for New Year's Eve. The weekend turns into another revue, only this time their personal lives are the substance of the show. With Emma Thompson (right) and Alphonsia Emmanuel (HBO Monday at 5:05 a.m.).

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