Film Scouts Reviews

"I'm Not Rappaport"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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How does one describe Walter Matthau's face? "Weathered" sounds too much like a cowboy. "Craggy" implies good looks. But have you ever seen a paper lunch bag that has been scrunched into a kid's back pack? Well, Matthau not only looks like that, he has a screen temperament like that. He's been confined too long, but gets to let loose here as an aging New York Jewish labor radical. His straight man in the two-man routine is the outstanding Ossie Davis. Bringing his own play to the screen, Herb Gardner maintains the Central Park setting but is never confined by it.

Davis portrays Midge, a man fearful of losing both his sight and his job as a building superintendent. When we meet them in Central Park, Matthau has convinced Davis that he is Cuban terrorist, undercover. This is the first of many fanciful deceptions that keep the despair of old age at bay. This isn't a movie that is supposed to be believed. It is supposed to be *felt*, and Matthau makes us feel it. Rated PG-13

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