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Love! Valour! Compassion!

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Movie adaptations of plays are almost always a bad idea; what’s bold and electrifying on stage is often blah and enervating on screen. What survives in the tape version of Terrence McNally’s Pulitzer winner about eight gay men sharing a country house on three memorable weekends — adapted by McNally, and featuring almost the entire original cast (Jason Alexander replaces Nathan Lane) — are the superlative performances and the hilariously dishy dialogue. But many scenes that had even straight theatergoers wiping away tears, like the one in which each character explains how he’ll eventually die, simply fall flat without contact between actor and audience. Love! Valour! Compassion! is an acceptable substitute, but no more. B-

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