All of writer-director-actor Albert Brooks’s comedy features are good, but this one, his fifth, about a twice-divorced science-fiction writer moving back in with his mother (Debbie Reynolds) in order to figure out why he has problems with women, is probably the most accessible as well as the best realized. For all the seriousness of the subject matter, Brooks and his customary cowriter Monica Johnson make it pretty hilarious. Brooks’s comedies, like Woody Allen’s, are basically multifaceted reflections on neurosis, but the probing goes a lot deeper and the human landscape is usually more generously furnished. Understanding isn’t limited to the lead character–there’s every bit as much insight into the characters of Reynolds and Rob Morrow (the hero’s kid brother, a sports agent). A must-see. Pipers Alley, Esquire, Gardens.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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