January 03, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it a C+

Cable-access porn stars get culture in this new farce from the formidable Elaine May. In mounting her play, the celebrated writer-performer-filmmaker (whose work stretches back to the classic ’60s comedy team of Nichols and May) has joined forces with another showbiz giant: director Stanley Donen (Singin’ in the Rain). And while it would be gratifying to report that these past masters have hit the genius mark, what emerges is an awkward production of a muddled work — with wide swaths of typically caustic/poignant May-like laughter along the way. The premise involves the comically dense members (including Danny Aiello and Jeannie Berlin) of the Heidi the Ho show, who opt to produce their own sex films. But they make the mistake of hiring a writer with lofty visions of Thornton Wilder, Arthur Miller, and Flaubert. The result: Too many big ideas leave them — and us — befuddled.

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