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Lenny

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Lenny

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
runtime:
111 minutes
performer:
Dustin Hoffman, Jan Miner, Valerie Perrine
director:
Bob Fosse
distributor:
United Artists (MGM)
author:
Julian Barry
genre:
Drama

We gave it an A-

This modest, well-crafted, working-class sitcom could easily prove to be one of the season’s best. On its surface, Lenny is a cross between Roseanne and All in the Family. Lenny Clarke stars as Lenny Callahan, an Irish-Catholic guy with a big extended family — wife, three kids, parents, and brother. Lenny is an amiably opinionated cuss, but unlike Roseanne or Archie Bunker, there’s not much that’s whiny or mean-spirited about him. He seems genuinely to like his children and to enjoy their verbal jousts. You will, too, because these exchanges are well written.

Lenny Clarke, a stand-up comic by profession, is certainly a natural actor. Most sitcom stars reduce their characters to just a few mannerisms and moods, but Lenny comes across as a lot more than a stolid representative of the masses. Although it’s clear that Lenny has been conceived as an affable fellow, Clarke isn’t afraid to let us see him getting angry or confused.

The curt jokes in Lenny are helped by the blunt Boston accents in which they’re delivered: The show sounds like a sitcom version of a George V. Higgins novel. Interesting lines pop up everywhere: A stout neighbor named Mrs. Lubie remarks at one point, ”The Lubies have always been big people- we’re descended from the Goths.”

When was the last time a reference to the Goths found its way onto television? A-

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