Directed by Richard J. Lewis
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Paul Giamatti has delivered another Oscar-worthy performance in this smart adaptation of a Mordecai Richler novel, said David Germain in the Associated Press. As Barney Panofsky—a Canadian TV producer, “wooer of women way out of his league,” and “self-righteous and self-loathing” Jewish antihero—Giamatti is a pleasure to watch “plot and scheme” his way through four decades of an overstuffed life. Too bad the rest of the film can’t keep up, said Justin Chang in Variety. Director Richard J. Lewis seems overwhelmed by the task of squeezing 40 years into two hours, so while the movie is “clearly a few IQ points above the norm,” it plays as “a zany series of midlife crises” rather than the lacerating portrait Richler created. At least Lewis knows to keep Giamatti front and center, said Marshall Fine in HuffingtonPost.com. “It’s too early” to call this “the performance of his career,” given the actor’s relative youth. But his work here produces a superb portrait of a thrice-married man “whose greatest struggle is always with himself.”
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