Lawrence O'Toole
December 18, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Noises Off

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
performer
Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Denholm Elliott, Julie Hagerty, Marilu Henner, Christopher Reeve, John Ritter, Nicollette Sheridan
director
Peter Bogdanovich
genre
Comedy

We gave it a C

Nothing is as murderous on a farce as film. Its mechanics can work beautifully from the distance of the stage, as they did in Noises Off, Michael Frayn’s 1983 hit play about yet another farce — a low British sex comedy called Nothing On — staggering during tryouts on its way to Broadway. But the closeness of the home screen points up every flaw in Peter Bogdanovich’s futile adaptation: anorectic visuals, bloated acting, broad timing, and often dull direction. The cast members — Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, Christopher Reeve, Marilu Henner, John Ritter, Denholm Elliott, and Julie Hagerty — are all game, but it’s exhausting watching actors try so hard. All this play needs is a stage. C

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