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Review: 'Meeting Spencer'

April 21, 2011|By Kevin Thomas

"Meeting Spencer," a lame, tedious comedy, wastes the estimable Jeffrey Tambor as Harris Chappell, a noted Broadway director, who, after a series of Hollywood flops, returns to New York with a recently deceased famed playwright's last work that he is convinced will put his name back in lights.

To that end he has booked a table in a popular theater district restaurant where he hopes to land a backer for his venture and line up a leading man. Lending him staunch support is an elegant former flame (Melinda McGraw).

Throughout the evening, various types come and go, including a pleasant young man (Jesse Plemons) who just might end up in with the plum role — even though his only acting experience has been in a shaving cream commercial. A formidable Brit (William Morgan Sheppard), fabled for his rewriting skills, gives the film its only bite and snap.

All we know about the play is that it is a satire about the environment that, by evening's end, might become a musical. The vagueness about the play is characteristic of the entire film, which is devoid of any sense of reality. Director Malcolm Mowbray has some fine credits, including "A Private Function," but he and his cast cannot breathe life into such hopeless material.

"Meeting Spencer." MPAA rating: R for some language. Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.

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