Combustible Celluloid
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With: Adolph Green, Laura Benson, Linda Lavin, Gerard Depardieu, Micheline Presle, John Ashton, Geraldine Chaplin, Caroline Sihol
Written by: Jules Feiffer, Alain Resnais
Directed by: Alain Resnais
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: English, French with English subtitles
Running Time: 101
Date: 09/07/1989

I Want to Go Home (1989)

1 Star (out of 4)

Comic Stripped

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I suppose even masters are allowed their misfires. This "comedy" by Alain Resnais, shot mostly in English, centers on two supremely annoying characters. Elsie Wellman (Laura Benson) is an American living in Paris, working on her thesis on Flaubert. Her estranged father Joey (Adolph Green, a songwriter on Singin' in the Rain and many other musicals) is a cartoonist who comes to Paris for an exhibition of his art; he's the quintessential "ugly American." Cartoon cats appear (in "thought balloons") and speak to both of them, and it seems like both of them do nothing but grouse, complain, whine or cry, and always too loudly.

Gerard Depardieu plays a professor who is fascinated by American artists; Elsie has tried and failed to get meetings with him, but she finds her opening when the professor takes a shine to Joey. It climaxes with a comic book character costume party, with the usual drawing-room hijinks. The film never ceases to be obnoxious. Linda Lavin co-stars as Joey's long-suffering girlfriend, Geraldine Chaplin appears as member of the Paris art scene, and John Ashton, a familiar American face from Beverly Hills Cop, also turns up. The great real-life cartoonist and writer Jules Feiffer co-wrote the screenplay.

Kino released this under their Kimstim label along with three other Alain Resnais movies from the 1980s (Mélo, Love Unto Death and Life Is a Bed of Roses). The disc includes an interview with producer Marin Karmitz and a trailer.

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