Signs Of Life

In point of fact, the only real signs of life to be found in this top-heavy American Playhouse theatrical production, at once overloaded and undernourished, come from Arthur Kennedy’s performance as Owen Coughlin, an aging, cantankerous New England shipbuilder. All the other characters and intersecting miniplots seem to come straight from the American Playhouse pork barrel: a pathetically retarded adolescent (Michael Lewis) modeled loosely after Lennie in Of Mice and Men, a family man desperate for cash (Beau Bridges), two young workers who dream of salvage diving in Florida (Vincent D’Onofrio and Kevin J. O’Connor), the latter’s frustrated girlfriend (Mary Louise Parker), Coughlin’s practical-minded housekeeper (Kate Reid), and a gaggle of picturesque Portuguese fishermen. John David Coles directed this dusty material, scripted by Mark Malone, with the strained piety one expects in this sort of movie. (JR)

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