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Naked In New York Review

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Packed off to school after his philandering father flees the nest, Jake makes some Freudian first stabs at drama as he embarks on an uneasy journey towards maturity.

★★★★★

Executive-produced by Martin Scorsese and with a surprisingly starry cast, this, the comic tale of struggling, wannabe playwright Jake (Stoltz), looks good on paper, but in reality proves a dramatic disappointment. Symptomatic of a whole slew of recent American independent features, Dan Algrant's debut mistakes introspective for interesting and wastes some galactic acting talent on routine rites-of-passage whimsically told at a fairly tedious tempo.

Packed off to school after his philandering father flees the nest, Jake makes some Freudian first stabs at drama as he embarks on an uneasy journey towards maturity. Along this rather schematic journey he encounters kooky romance with Joanne (Parker), infidelity with Dana (Kathleen Turner), leading lady in his off-Broadway debut, and professional reality in the shape of theatrical producer Carl Fisher.

Superficial in both tone and content, the film's main strength is, aptly enough, its party scenes, crammed with literary and entertainment figures aplenty (Richard Price, Quentin Crisp, Eric Bogosian). The star-spotting appeal of these scenes spills over into the rest of the film as Griffin Dunne cameos amusingly at an audition and Whoopi Goldberg makes an appearance, inexplicably, as a stone comedy mask. Such diversions do not, however, compensate for the script's considerable longeurs, nor the movie's slack-jawed philosophy.

Odd moments cannot compensate for the script's considerable longeurs, nor the movie's slack-jawed philosophy.

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