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For Richer, For Poorer

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For Richer or For Poorer, a new TV movie that has an impressive cast, including Jack Lemmon, Madeline Kahn, the terrific stage actress Joanna Gleason, Talia Shire, and Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s). But the actors labor mightily only to achieve the equivalent of a mediocre Neil Simon comedy. Lemmon plays a rich Beverly Hills businessman who gives away all his money. Why? To teach his spoiled, layabout son (Silverman) a lesson — you have to work hard in this life. That, essentially, is it. The script, by veteran TV writer Stan Daniels (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Taxi), is supposed to elicit laughs from the spectacle of watching Lemmon, Silverman, and Shire (as Lemmon’s wife) adjusting to poverty. Kahn portrays a longtime homeless person who gives them pointers; at one point, Lemmon actually says, ”You know, you’re a very wise derelict.” This downscale Down and Out in Beverly Hills isn’t just unfunny; it’s pretty offensive, too. D

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