Felix and Oscar, Meet Alex and Elliot. (Neil Simon should sue!)
Alex Andero is a lunk-headed goomba who's a few candy-covered almonds short of an Italian wedding. His dream is to be a great screenwriter like Joe Eszterhas or Akiva Goldsmith. Elliot is a gay, Jewish dweeb playwright who longs for the manly caresses of an effete waiter working at the Andero's Sopranos-themed family feedbag. When Alex's mascarpone-chocked cranium burps out the idea for an action film about an undercover cop posing as a fashion model, it's only natural that Hollywood finds it the Second Coming of Pluto Nash and gives him an option. Funny, but as soon as he places crayon to construction paper, Alex discovers he can't write. (Illiteracy will do that to you.) So he takes a writing class where he meets a couple of plot points, and forms an unrealistic partnership with the anxious Elliott. Alex will get his blockbuster as long as Elliott gets his nut roller, Joey, from the cafe. By the way, all this happens in the first 30 minutes of the movie. The next 79 minutes are a painful fusion of Annie Hall with a homosexualized version of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz as everyone' s careers and love lives limp along like a dead shark. (Woody Allen should sue!)
There is no torment greater than suffering through an unfunny comedy. By definition, one only works if it makes you laugh. Occasionally, satire or irony can illuminate a subject in a clever or comic way without leaving you chortling uncontrollably. Yet most would consider it a noble failure. Such is the case with the stiff, lumbering Hit and Runway. Here is a film that has winning performances and wonderful New York locations, and yet offers nothing interesting behind the camera or in the script. It is an attempt to combine a Woody Allen style view of romance and the creative life into the world of gay angst and dopey dreamers. Comedy is all about timing, and there is absolutely none here. Comedy is also about concept. But this film cannot decide if it wants to be flaming, straight, old-fashioned, post-modern, or a celebration of integrity and artistic ethics over selling out. But it is definitely NOT funny. No matter how flip the joke or hip the reference, the attempts at humor are forced, one liners carving into the interpersonal dynamics like bullies barging into a junior high lunch line. Screenwriters Jaffe Cohen and Christopher Livingston would have you believe that this semi-autobiographical sh…aving cream is brimming with humor, heart, and hope. But they ruin the rhythm of each and every attempt at comic characterization or sentimental situations with the over-rushed set-up, meandering middle section and pat wrap up. They just can't craft a decent story arc. Hysterical, bitchy acerbic wit can carry even the most useless endeavor, but Hit and Runway proves that being gay doesn't guarantee a sense of humor. (Paul Rudnick should sue!)
There is an ingenious aspect to this DVD that provides the only moments of joy one will ever experience with it. On a sparse, self-congratulatory and inferred over-importance filled commentary track, we are presented writer Jaffe Cohen and writer/director Christopher Livingston as two separate, individual stereo channels: Jaffe on the left, Chris on the right. Tweaking your tuner will allow you to completely remove one or the others' comments. Playing left channel/right channel fade out is tantamount to the only glee you'll glean from this flat film. The widescreen transfer is filled with artifacts around the edges, especially during the fadeouts. There is no indication that the image is anamorphic, so HDTV owners may have to experience the low budget blunders inherent in the print without the benefit of the latest technology. The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is tolerable, but the commentary track is the only example of any separation in the mix. There are no other extras, which is odd considering other Culture Q Connection titles had a trailer for THIS film as part of their packages. During the commentary, co-writer Jaffe Cohen states that some of his experiences with this film were like the classic play "Six Characters in Search of an Author." A more stirring recommendation of a work by its creator could not be made here. Hit and Runway is indeed like a bunch of hopelessly lost screen cretins looking for a script doctor. They should be looking for one who believes in assisted suicide. (Dr. Kevorkian should sue!)
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Ariztical Entertainment
• Commentary Track with writer Jaffe Cohen and Writer/Director Christopher Livingston
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