Mr. Saturday Night - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mr. Saturday Night Reviews

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½ May 25, 2008
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 May 21, 2008
It really wasn't funny enough to be a comedy or dramatic enough to be a drama...it was just...there. Nothing worth a second watch. Or even a first for that matter.
May 15, 2008
Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too long
May 12, 2008
I loved this movie the first time I saw it, but I recently re-watched it and it didn't hold up as well.
½ April 20, 2008
Billy Crystal might be somewhat of an acquired taste for people. While enjoying his acting is one challenge on it's own, enjoying a movie he not only stars in but also wrote and directed, is a whole different ball game. 1992 brought us "Mr Saturday Night", his self-penned tale of a hugely talented, fictitious comedian with a propensity to screw up every opportunity that came his way.

It charts the career of Buddy Young Jnr (Crystal - "Analyze This", "Forget Paris", "City Slickers", "Deconstructing Harry"), now an ageing, washed up stand-up, and looks back at his career through a series of retrospective flashbacks. He and his brother Stan (Paymer - "The Hurricane", "Payback", "The American President", "Quiz Show"), have always been entertaining people. As kids, their post-dinner comedy routine delighted the family. But when, in their teens, it came to performing at a local amateur night, their double act falls apart as Stan gets stagefright and young Buddy is left to delight the crowd alone.

Subsequently Buddy becomes the star, and Stan works tirelessly as his agent and co-writer. But the relationship is not perfect, and Buddy's abrasive, unreasonable, cruel and arrogant manner strain not just that relationship, but also that which he has with his daughter, Susan (Mara - "K-PAX", "A Civil Action", "Bound"). It also becomes a major factor in his somewhat muted success as much of his potential is never realised. Now Buddy wants just one more shot at success, but it's questionable whether or not he has learnt enough from his past to make it a reality.

Although "Mr Saturday Night" is full of laughs and one-liners, it can never be confused as a comedy. This is a pure personal drama - a study of human pursuits such as ambition and love, and traits like jealousy, bitterness and loyalty. Crystal's character is hard to like most of the time. Now a grumpy, middle-aged man who half-lives in reality about his lack of status in the world of showbusiness, he barely hangs on to the drive that made him a star in the first place.

Instantly it becomes clear that the audience will cheer for his likeable, under-appreciated and hard-working brother, who has taken years of mental abuse from Buddy. The irony is that Buddy has always taken advice from Stan. Stan repeatedly tells him through his career that "the other jacket is funnier" and makes suggestions about which gags he should and shouldn't do.

Buddy's relationships are fascinating. He undoubtedly loves his wife Elaine (Warner - "The Puppet Masters", "Doc Hollywood", "Flatliners") unconditionally, and it seems that he has treated her well in their time together. But for some reason his children never get the same treatment. We see him yelling at his young daughter Susan, and his relationship with her as an adult is non-existent (she's now a "twice divorced, middle aged drug addict" according to Buddy). His son doesn't even feature in the movie and Buddy tells us that he "lives wherever I'm not". Meanwhile, Stan retires to Florida but Buddy continues to drag him back into his desperate battle to get back in front of an audience.

It's not just his family though. Annie Wells (Hunt - TV's "Mad About You", "As Good As it Gets", "Cast Away"), a young agent who is eager to get Buddy back on track, takes a truck load of abuse from a frustrated Buddy. For some reason though, she believes in him and comes back for more.

At times it seems like Buddy might be just unlucky. After getting his own TV show, he sees the ratings slip when the show comes up against Davy Crockett on another channel. He ignores Stan's warnings on ridiculing Davy Crockett in a monologue and subsequently the show's sponsors pull the plug. Back in present day, one of his biggest fans, Hollywood director Larry Meyerson, wants to cast him in his next big movie, but Buddy flips when Walter Matthau takes his part and he is offered a much smaller one. Despite it still being a great opportunity, he abuses Meyerson and walks away. "You took every bad break you ever got and made it worse", Stan tells him.

One of the major failings of the movie is in the make-up department. Crystal was 44, Paymer 38, when this movie was made. Making them look in their early twenties is passable, but it's their elder years where things go slightly wrong. Paymers looks decent enough I suppose but that's only comparable to Crystal who looks like a man with make-up on. As for Julie Warner, the pretty brunette was 27 and her sixty-something look is fairly laughable.

But leaving this aside, the performances make up (excuse the pun) for all that. David Paymer was surprisingly, but deservedly, nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. As Stan, he delivers a masterful performance, a spot-on portrayal of a timid and hesitant man working hard in the shadow of a more dominant personality.

Crystal is both harsh and hilarious but sometimes you wonder if anyone could be as cold-hearted as he is. At times you feel that his wretched treatment of those who annoy him is a little too over-the-top, perhaps exploiting his character as just that, rather than a real human being.

Warner is warm and likeable, Helen Hunt plays a convincing agent with a genuine streak, and in her small role as Susan Young, Mary Mara does a decent job.

I wouldn't say that "Mr Saturday Night" is an expert character study by any means, but if you assume its aim is to entertain and touch in just a small way, then it certainly achieves that.
½ April 6, 2008
This film isnt bad, but its... ok. You can most likely find something better to watch.
½ March 24, 2008
This movie had potential, but fell through the cracks. To bad.
½ March 13, 2008
Annoying. I usually like Billy Crystal, but this really bugged me.
February 16, 2008
I haven't seen this forever, but I remember liking it when I saw it.
February 16, 2008
billy crystal's pretty awesome, but this i didn't enjoy as much as some of his other stuff.
January 10, 2008
Funny, Funny film. David Paymer definitely stole the show.
January 9, 2008
A good watch, great lines - Billy Crystal best show. Dont miss his chat with Ron Silver at the cafe talking about the Jewish basket ball player - hilarious
½ December 29, 2007
Written, directed, and starring Billy Crystal about an aging comedian. I'm not a huge fan, but this is perhaps the best thing he's ever done. If you want an idea of what the Borscht Belt comedians were like, then check this movie out. Then again, its a bit too long, and I can't remember what the hell its all about. You'll either love it or hate it.
December 16, 2007
I really was expecting a good movie. I can't believe I own this movie. This is just a bad movie. Not good.
½ December 14, 2007
First time I saw it I didn't like it. The second time I saw it I thought it was hilarious. "Hey lady, Moses called. He said you were a good f***."
December 3, 2007
It's a decent movie that goes on too long and has too many points of high drama. Good performances though, especially by David Paymer.
½ November 28, 2007
I was never a big crystal fan until the mid 90's... notice this is NOT the mid 90's.(not that he would care)
November 12, 2007
Billy Crystal wrote, directed, and starred in this film about an aging comedian. If you want an idea of what the Borscht Belt comedians were like, please check this movie out. Crystal is a genius, even under all that makeup. David Paymer was nominated for an Oscar as his brother but he should have won the Oscar as well. Go see this movie if you have yet to do so!
½ November 5, 2007
It showcasts Billy Crystal's talent as a filmmaker and not just as a comic actor/writer.
October 31, 2007
I liked a lot of things about this film: the dialogue, the casting, the subject material. It worked fairly well and has its moments. A keeper for me.
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