It's hard to go wrong with a cast that includes Jill Clayburgh, Tony Curtis, Quentin Crisp, Kathleen Turner, Whoopi Goldberg and Timothy Dalton, but wrong it goes, and all the way.
"Naked in New York" is a sore test for the movie going public. The effort is there, but the results are tedious. It seemed like an island of promise in the current crop of washouts that have lingered far too long on the multiplex screens this spring. But Hollywood, it seems, has taken a long lunch break.
"Naked in New York" follows Harvard student Jake (Eric Stolz) on his journey to becoming a playwright in New York. Jake has grown up with a crazy mother (Jill Clayburgh) in an apartment strewn with burning candles and eccentric thoughts. Hope still bubbles when we learn his Jewish cousin got married in a Chinese restaurant during the blackout - a delectable image. But in short order Jake reveals himself as a thoroughly self-absorbed, pretentious drifter. There is nothing of the listener in him that might enable him to write. He observes only himself and his girlfriend, Jo Ann, who has the sense to cast a safety net to one side in a mild flirtation with her boss.
The rest of the movie unfolds in New York and Martha's Vineyard. The Vineyard weekend is yet another cocktail party peopled by very good and well-known writers who become rather ordinary when they open their mouths. It's hard to go wrong with a cast that includes Jill Clayburgh, Tony Curtis, Quentin Crisp, Kathleen Turner, Whoopi Goldberg and Timothy Dalton, but wrong it goes, and all the way. The movie sinks in its own potential because Jake's inarticulate, whiny monotone precludes any possibility of his being what he is supposed to be. He punches a hole in the bottom of the boat and takes his fellow players with him.
Film Critic: JOAN ELLIS
Word Count: 283
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