THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS by Max Wilk

THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A well-meaning but hopelessly contrived caper--with a belabored Hollywood background that falls uncomfortably somewhere between up-to-date authentic and tinselly nostalgic. Perce Barnes, a has-been screenwriter and over-the-hill tennis pro, is approached by two ex-con armed robbers, the Chester brothers, who want Barnes to turn their story into a film script. What they really want is access to I-U Studios, so they can hijack the one and only negative of I-U's just-completed big new movie and ransom it for a million dollars. Unfortunately, both the Chesters' scheme and Barnes' growing interest in their deadly-dull life story remain reels away from credible, even by lighthearted-caper standards. And Wilk's sprinklings of old film cliches and movie-town anecdotes don't help any more than do his attempts to capture the nasty, plastic now-Hollywood of agents, PR power, and bandwagon-jumping (so much better captured in much recent nonfiction and in Thomas Maremaa's Studio). If the mechanics of the theft itself were a bit cleverer, or if Barnes were a whole lot more likable (he's heavy on the self-pity), maybe this could have been made into a breezy film about a film; as it is, it's a half-pleasant, half-annoying yap (75% dialogue) for only the most easily charmed comedy-heist fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1978
Publisher: Norton