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Next Stop, Greenwich Village

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In Paul Mazursky’s indulgent valentine to his own memories of 1953, just released on video for the first time, Larry Lapinsky (Lenny Baker) makes his way from Brooklyn and an overbearing mother (Shelley Winters) to Greenwich Village and life as a struggling actor. He gets in with a group of friends who are diverse (one gay black man, one licentious poet, one bearded painter, one undependable girlfriend) as only movie cliques can be, and the rest is so tediously coy and predictable you can feel the rumble of every scene before it actually comes down the track. Lapinsky is a wearying character — he talks to himself, does dreadful impersonations, makes bad jokes. His acting teacher tells him to cut out the jokes, advice that should have been heeded by Mazursky, who undermines his film with a fatal dose of the cutes. Occasionally affecting and dotted with good incidental performances, Next Stop, Greenwich Village worked better in theaters, where group laughter helped fill the void at the center of this maudlin and infrequently credible movie.

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