Mr. Saturday Night - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mr. Saturday Night Reviews

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July 28, 2015
Though not that familiar with the comedy style of Billy Crystal, with Mr. Saturday Night boasting an Academy Award nominated performance from David Paymer it sounded like it had a talented cast.

Mr. Saturday Night is not exactly a comedy, it is a film about a comedian. It cannot be denied that it is funny in parts, but at others it is also dramatic and sentimental. The tone is never precisely consistent, but there is always a sense of charm. The problem however is the fact that the plot structure does not become steady for a long time. Mr. Saturday Night largely features the same comic act repeated over the course of the story again and again. The film attempts to disguise this beneath the structure which jumps to several different points in the life of Buddy Young Jr., but this can prove frustrating because there is no steady consistency. As the film focuses more on its second act the structure ends up more stable, but until then everything is inconsistent in piecing together the story, largely because the story is a recount of the rise and fall of the protagonist from his later period in life. Frankly, Mr. Saturday Knight is an oddly structured reconstruction of the life of its titular protagonist which renders the notion of consistency rather ineffective. Ultimately, Mr. Saturday Night is a really scattered film, and for his debut as a director, Billy Crystal is not up to the challenge of handling a non-chronological plot sturcture with finesse.
However, his film is a strong debut because of how he brings his writing to life. As scattered as his film is, Mr. Satuday Night has a strong screenplay to it which has interesting characters and an undeniable sense of passion to it. I found that Buddy Young Jr. Was a funny character, but also that he was a very sympathetic one because as the story progresses we see his larger than life persona broken down in favour of his true identity as a human being. Though the structure makes this development inconsistent, the work of Billy Crystal works to ensure that the meaning is all there. The screenplay in Mr. Saturday Night explores the concept of Hollywood and what it is to be famous, as well as how it affects the relationships between father and daughter or brothers with both touching sentimentality and a sophisticated sense of humour about things.
The value in having Billy Crystal as the director of Mr. Saturday Night comes from the fact that the film is clearly a very personal project for him. Billy Crystal brings it to life with a sense of style as well with the colourful production design and costumes effectively conveying the time period of the film and its settings convincingly. The cinematography captures it all very nicely because the angles are very theatrical in the way they alternate between Buddy Young Jr. and his audience, therefore capturing the scale of his success. And during the more intricate dramatic scenes of the film, the shots get really close up with the faces of the cast as a means of capturing every little aspect of their emotional state, really challenging the cast to put a lot of character into their facial expressions. They work alongside it really well, and the entire time the musical score is able to illuminate their performances by emphasizing the atmosphere to the point that all the humour and sentimentality is brought out of the material very nicely.
Frankly, Mr. Saturday Night is a stylish film with characters that I really loved, and I credit the actors which making this statement true.
Billy Crystal's leading performance is what really carries Mr. Saturday Night. In the titular role, Billy Crystal keeps things consistently funny with a very charismatic peformance. He sinks so deeply into the role that the comic styles of the character come to him instinctively which he delivers without flinching. His voice articulation is very dedicated to ensuring that he presents the humour with his best level of spirit, and it really is a hilarious effort on his behalf. But Buddy Young Jr. is so much more than just a funny man, he is a human being with insecurities and flaws which he slowly shows more of as the film develops. This shows Billy Crystal balancing his talents for comedy with genuine dramatic passion, and it is a thoroughly beautiful performance. I haven't seen him do much, but I feel like this is one of the best performances of his career because he left me laughing and feeling for him too, and his chemistry with the surrounding cast. Billy Crystal's hard work as an actor under his own guide as director and writer of Mr. Saturday Night pays him a lot of credit, and it leaves me wanting to see more of his work.
David Paymer is also wonderful. Being one of the most important characters at the heart of the story, David Paymer is responsible for bringing a lot of drama into the narrative. In the role of Stan Young, David Paymer keeps the drama flowing through the way he approaches his character gently, conveying both a love for his brother Buddy Young Jr. and a sense of frustration at all the sucess and failure that Buddy Young Jr. drags him through as an agent. David Paymer's sensibly restrained approach to the drama makes the sentimentality of Mr. Saturday Night all the more valuable, and his chemistry with Billy Crystal is truly wonderful.
Julie Warner puts in a touching effort as well, and a young Helen Hunt works alongside Billy Crystal very nicely.

So Mr. Saturday Night is a rather scattered film in terms of structure, but the genuine passion from Billy Crystal as a writer and director brings the material to life while the performances of him and David Paymer ensure that the feature is ultimately both touching and funny.
October 13, 2014
The good guy Crystal just can't pull off the jackass that is Buddy Young Jr.
October 21, 2013
You see what I did there
½ September 8, 2013
Billy Crystal co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in this comedy/drama about an aging comedy star with a self destructive streak. I think this movie gets a bit if a bad reputation, but isn't all bad. Crystal gives a great performance as the Milton Berle-esque comedian, and David Paymer is quite good as his long suffering brother. The movie isn't terribly long, but I guess a fault is that it feels longer than it should. Really, I just kind of enjoyed this picture.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2013
Although I really liked David Paymer in this film, I think that Crystal didn't achieve what he wanted to achieve in his biopic of Buddy Young. Working on both sides of the camera, Crystal achieves run of the mill at best.
January 17, 2013
Billy Crystal never disappoints.
½ August 24, 2012
Oh Billy Crystal... You'll always make absolutely no sense to me.
½ August 1, 2012
A bit too schmaltzy at times, but that's to be expected with Billy Crystal. I really liked that he was playing a Don Rickles-type in this film instead of a typical nice guy like you think of Billy Crystal. Good, but not great.
July 22, 2012
Mr. Saturday Night (1992) - A rather sad biography of a famous comic, Buddy Young, Jr. covering his ambiguous relationship with brother and manager, Stan, deficit of personal life and time for his daughter, personality of his mother who was the reason for his comic career, all of it seen through the years of the decline of his career and fame as he grows old. At times sparkling funny, but most of the time downright sad.
June 1, 2012
Billy Crystal plays Buddy Young who's self destructive behavier prevents him from getting to the top of show buisness and as a stand-up comedian. I thought Billy Crystal was funny through most of the movie. Some of the jokes were not funny but for the better part most of them were. This movie is for anyone who like me enjoys to watch a good Billy Crystal movie.
½ April 11, 2012
Billy Crystal is a delight as a comic who can't seem to get out of his own way. David Paymer is brilliant as always.
½ March 13, 2012
Why didn't people like this?
November 26, 2011
Well... that almost worked
August 14, 2011
Billy Crystal plays Buddy Young,who's whole life revolved around comedy, but comedy evolved, but his act didn't
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2011
billy crystal as a old timed hillarious jerry seinfeld. A
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2011
A old comic tries to jump-start his failing career. Only a flawed ending keeps this from being Mr. Crystal's great shining moment. Still it's the best he's done in my opinion, and the supporting cast is more than adequate. David Paymer, as the long suffering second banana, particularly is wonderful.
April 9, 2011
I enjoyed this movie because Crystal plays a not so loveable character and it allows one of the greatest character actors ever, David Paymer, a chance to shine. I could have used more Orbach though.
½ March 21, 2011
I was under the impression that this movie might be a comedy, but it's really a drama about comedy. Crystal co-writes, directs and stars in this showbiz fable about a comic long past his prime and his career as he continues looking for work. Movie alternates between the past and present, detailing the rise and fall of Buddy Young (Crystal), a talented but tragically egotistical comedian who becomes a victim of his own success. Crystal does a fine job of playing drama, even though it's about a fictional comedian and David Paymer (in an Oscar nominated performance), is good as the moralistic center as Young's put upon brother and manager. Movie is a little ugly in it's portrayal of showbiz as a man who goes from a major TV show to playing in nursing homes, and Crystal goes against type as a narcissistic, prickly comic.
½ February 13, 2011
kinda bio-pic reminded me of hoffman in little big man
½ January 3, 2011
Forced, cliched, ineffective sentimentality and a wandering, aimless plot doom this movie almost from the very beginning. Billy Crystal's writing and directing are nothing special (in fact, I swear I saw the mic in more than one shot), and even though it's a drama, it is a movie about a comedian, you think I would have laughed, even a little.
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