Review: Tom Hanks shines in messy 'Lucky Guy'

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 1, 2013 at 7:01 pm •  Published: April 1, 2013
Advertisement
;

NEW YORK (AP) — Nora Ephron's last play is about the world of New York tabloids, and it's a lot like the messy subject she looks at — overindulgent, overstuffed and raucous. That's its charm as well as its undoing.

"Lucky Guy," starring Tom Hanks sporting a wedge of a mustache, focuses on Mike McAlary, the city's one-time dominant tabloid reporter. His rise and fall and rise again during the 1980s and '90s helped define the transition from boys-will-be-boys notepad journalism to the buttoned-up, professional digital recorders of today.

Ephron's play, which opened Monday at the Broadhurst Theatre, has touches of film noir, a ton of testosterone and profanity and moments of humor but not too much elegance or heft.

It's Ephron's valentine to those hard-charging, heavy-smoking, gruff reporters she met in newsrooms with ink in their veins and booze on their breath. Ephron's humor can be heard, but only faintly. At times, watching it is more like enduring a verbal assault by drunken Irish-American frat boys.

Hanks, making his Broadway debut, is classic Hanks — lovable, touching and funny. "It's New York City, who can relax?" he says at the beginning, before turning to someone in the audience. "Are you relaxed?" He makes a great Broadway debut, making McAlary a lovable rogue we have to root for even if we sometimes shouldn't.

McAlary, who bounced from tabloid to tabloid during his career, was a star even before he got the first interview with Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was sodomized and beaten by white police officers at a station house in 1997. McAlary would win the Pulitzer Prize the next year but would die of cancer a few months later at age 41.

Ephron, who died of leukemia last summer at age 71, gained fame as the writer of films such as "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," which both also starred Hanks.

Ephron has structured the play chronologically, but as if it were a story told in a bar, with the supporting actors pulling each other into onstage roles ("Who wants to play Eddie Hayes?" one actor asks the ensemble. At another point, someone says while walking offstage: "And by the way, that is the end of me in this story.") It's cute at first, but soon grows grating.

Ephron also has broken one of the cardinal rules of journalism — show, don't tell. There is far too much expository writing and at various points, characters will tell the audience something and then pointlessly repeat it when they return to the scene.

Adding to the frantic nature of the piece is all the modern toys thrown at it — projected images, archive footage, TV sets, smoke machines, desks whizzing by, even a live camera broadcasting a TV interview. (In one, the TV cameras block the view of the screaming newspaper headlines projected onto the back wall). Under George C. Wolfe's direction, no scene can just breathe. So most don't connect.

| |

Advertisement


Trending Now



AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Former OU coach Sunny Golloway goes off at Auburn
  2. 2
    Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant
  3. 3
    Tulsa World: Missouri’s Frank Haith positioned to become TU’s basketball coach
  4. 4
    Oklahoma football: Peyton Manning stops by Sooners film session
  5. 5
    VIDEO: A look at the Air Jordan XX9 in Thunder colors
+ show more