The Great Wall
Unlike any American blockbuster you've seen, a conservative movie with action set pieces that are actually inventive and thrilling enough to be worthwhile.
"Class" is a prep-school retread of "The Graduate" that knows some of its scenes are funny and some are serious, but never figures out quite how they should go together. The result is an uncomfortable, inconsistent movie that doesn't really pay off -- a movie in which everything points to two absolutely key scenes that are, inexplicably, the two most awkward scenes in the film.
You'll understand the movie's problems when I tell you that the plot involves a love affair between a preppy who finds out, too late, that his lover also is the mother of his roommate. How, you are asking, how can I give away such a crucial plot point? The answer is, because the movie's ads are devoted to revealing that very point.
We know going into the theater that young Jonathan (Andrew McCarthy) and Mrs. Burroughs (Jacqueline Bisset) are doomed to meet, make love and make some embarrassing discoveries about each other. That knowledge is nearly fatal to the film. It tells us things we don't want to know, affecting our view of important early scenes in the film. It also places a lot of importance on the two key scenes: (1) The scene when Jonathan discovers that Mrs. Burroughs is his roommate Skip's mother, and (2) the scene where Skip discovers that his roommate and his mother are lovers.
Now how should those two scenes play? As comedy? As detached social observation? As farce? "Class" doesn't seem to know. The first discovery is made when Skip invites his roommate home for the holidays, and there's a pained dinner party scene that doesn't have a satisfactory ending. The second discovery is made when Skip bursts into his pal's hotel room, finds his mother in the sack, and then is left by the screenplay with nothing appropriate to say or do. I guess it doesn't really matter, since the movie resolves this embarrassment between friends by having them fight and make up.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
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