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Video Review: 'Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle'

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The humorist and critic Dorothy Parker would have been elegantly scathing about this tepid biopic, which depicts her life as one anticlimax after another. In recreating the Algonquin Round Table and its menagerie of wits, director Alan Rudolph (The Moderns) loses the punchy one-liners (the whole point of the movie, let’s face it) amid the clinking glasses and swirling camera work. Worse, Leigh’s odd diction mangles Parker’s zippy rejoinders (keep that rewind button handy). When, at one point, an analyst appears briefly to give Parker and us his brisk, unsympathetic take on all the boozing and joking, he ends up sounding sensible. C+