Expecting to die soon from AIDS, a Los Angeles architect (Eric Roberts) decides to end it all with pills, but not before throwing a two-day party for his friends and family. The bash consumes almost the entirety of this powerful comedy-drama by writer-director Randal Kleiser, who drew on personal experience. Among the architect’s party guests are his mother (Lee Grant), his sister (Marlee Matlin), his estranged lover (Gregory Harrison), his estranged father (George Segal), and others played by Olivia Newton-John, Bruce Davison, Roddy McDowall, Margaret Cho, Paul Regina, Devon Gummersall, and Bronson Pinchot. Sally Kellerman and Nina Foch are among the cameos. This may sound like the worst kind of Henry Jaglom movie, but despite a tendency to cut between sound bites it’s leagues ahead of that sort of New Age exercise. It’s My Party is a serious (albeit entertaining) movie about learning to die bravely, and the cast honors the concept with plenty of warmth and intelligence. Biograph. –Jonathan Rosenbaum
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.
Sandwiched between shots inspired by the opening of Sunset Boulevard is a grotesque, unfunny comic version of Fatal Attraction. Martin Lawrence, playing a nightclub promoter who gets into trouble with a scorned girlfriend (Lynn Whitfield), is also credited as director and cowriter, though this looks like a movie written and directed by a committee whose members aren’t even on speaking terms. With Bobby Brown (Panther), Della Reese, Regina King, and Roger E. Mosley. (JR)
Steve Martin takes over the Phil Silvers part from the old TV show You’ll Never Get Rich (also known as The Phil Silvers Show): a philandering con artist on a peacetime army base who’s happily bilking the army of our billions of tax dollars with our affectionate approval and consent. Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) directs the proceedings with the right amount of bounce, working from a routine but serviceable Andy Breckman script. Overall, this offers a reasonably updated facsimile of a 50s service romp called Operation Mad Ball, a similar celebration of high jinks. With Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, Glenne Headly, Daryl Mitchell, Austin Pendleton, and Chris Rock. (JR)
Though this has its share of silly moments and overdone lampoonery, Dick Shafer’s pseudodocumentary about his stint as Playgirl magazine’s 1992 man of the yearan extended promotional gig complicated by the fact that he’s gayis pretty funny much of the time. The movie combines a certain amount of real-life footage with satiric re-creation and dares you to sort out which is which. Chances are you won’t have too hard a time, but that’ll probably make the movie more fun to watch, not less. With Shafer (as himself), the model Fabio (ditto), Bill Brochtrup, Beth Broderick, Lu Leonard, and Cal Bartlett. 86 min. (JR)