"The Kid Stays in the Picture" is an engaging portrait of long-time Hollywood producer Robert Evans, whose headline successes included "The Godfather," "Love Story," "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown." The film is structured behind Evans' continuous narrative ramble, yet there's only the briefest flash of the contemporary man -- possibly, vanity about aging kept him offscreen. Instead, archived photos and clips emphasize his younger, dashing persona.
The lack of objectivity can be troubling -- the enemies Evans has made are not asked to testify. He does berate himself for a notorious drug bust and laments the commercial flop of "The Cotton Club," but he sidesteps other embarrassments such as his seven marriages (actress Ali MacGraw is the only wife mentioned) and the disastrous "Popeye" musical. He also liberally congratulates himself on a series of anti-drug TV specials titled "Get High on Yourself," which he humbly labels "the Woodstock of the '80s." (I personally have no memory of the show, and the clips look like horrid, saccharine kitsch. Hooray, Fonzie sings!) Elsewhere, it's puzzling that the making of "Chinatown" is casually glossed over, even though the film represented a volatile reunion of the Evans/Roman Polanski team that also birthed "Rosemary's Baby." And why no talk at all about "The Godfather II"? Hmm. But beyond these misgivings, plenty of interesting material emerges. For instance, I didn't realize Mia Farrow essentially chose "Rosemary's Baby" stardom over one-time husband Frank Sinatra, and that he served her with divorce papers during the shoot. It's also notable that Evans rejected the first cut of "The Godfather" (reason: sketchy storytelling) and pressed director Francis Ford Coppola to add approximately 50 more minutes. Obviously, that was the right call.
Make sure to sit through the closing credits for a hilarious, presumably improvised Dustin Hoffman outtake.