Born Yesterday

Pointless remake of the charming 1950 George Cukor comedy. Melanie Griffith imitates Judy Holliday (even down to her wardrobe) as a crooked businessman’s girlfriend who learns to think on her own during an extended visit to Washington, D.C. John Goodman imitates Broderick Crawford as the vulgar businessman, and, heaven help us, Don Johnson takes over William Holden’s part as the intellectual writer hired by the gangster to educate his moll. For the most part, Garson Kanin’s dialogue (as adapted by Albert Mannheimer) is retained in Douglas McGrath’s script, giving the proceedings a faintly anachronistic ring (apart from a couple of mildly amusing additions and some understandable paring away of the original’s gooey-eyed patriotism). Cukor’s black-and-white original is no imperishable classic, but the memories of its three wonderful leads are insulted by this pale color imitation. (The gin rummy game with Griffith and Goodman instead of Holliday and Crawford is enough to ruin a night out.) Directed by Luis Mandoki (White Palace) and costarring Edward Herrmann. (JR)

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