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Movie Review: 'American Blue Note'

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You know you’re in a little trouble when there’s only one funny moment in a feature-length comedy and that laugh is generated by an uncredited actress in a walk-on role. American Blue Note, an occasionally likable but inept film, set in Brooklyn circa 1960, stars Peter MacNicol (Sophie’s Choice) as a socially awkward and musically limited saxophonist who leads a quintet that aspires to play a big-league jazz club on Manhattan’s legendary 52nd Street. MacNicol’s performance is all nervous Woody Allen-ish mannerisms that are irritating instead of funny. His group faces the usual litany of musicians’ indignities and misfortunes (groveling for music contracts, getting lost on the way to the gig, conflicts about the band’s direction), none of which rise above the level of a sitcom from 1960.

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