I'm Not Rappaport

Bomb Rating: 

Though "I'm Not Rappaport" may in fact have a point, you'll be hard-pressed to figure out what it is.

If dialogue were the only important element of a movie, the ticket-takers wouldhand you a script as you strolled up and then give you a kick in the ass as you turned to leave.

Though "I'm Not Rappaport" may in fact have a point, you'll be hard-pressed to figure out what it is. The only thing interesting about the film is the curious fact that writer/director Herb Gardner, once he'd decided to make a film out of his play, produced nothing more ambitious than a filmed play.

Nat (Walter Matthau) and Midge (Ossie Davis) sit on a park bench in Central Park and argue. Nat is an 81-year-old Jewish radical with a penchant for making up stories. Midge is an 81-year-old, nearly blind janitor who wants to be left alone. Now, no matter what I might think of old people and park benches (I'm hoping they're the first to go in the nuclear winter), the idea of basing a play on two guys on a park bench seems like a reasonable idea. There are no set changes, the audience won't be alarmed by actors who actually move and you can hire people with severe physical disabilities to play the roles without fretting about whether they'll be able to carry that big dance number.

These advantages, however, do not translate readily to screen. The irony of Gardner's stupidity is that "I'm Not Rappaport" would have been more interesting had he just filmed the damn play in the theater rather than weakly attempted to transpose it to the real (and reel) world. Instead, Gardner makes himself look like an idiot by boldly diluting his own work and in the process reveals himself to be an utterly incompetent director.

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