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  • This movie was a disaster of sorts in that it failed miserably at the box office perhaps due to its very strong Jewish content. Nevertheless for the Jewish audience it is a fantastic comedy where we laugh at ourselves. There are some flies in the ointment. As always the Jewish boy in question can not have a Jewish girl-friend. Hollywood does not accept the fact that Jews marry Jews and Alby ( a rather fat Elliot Gould!!) is no exception, but his shiksa is worth her weight in gold. A Jewish mother would kill to have a daughter-in-law as caring as Elizabeth is to her diabetic shlemiel of a son. Margaux Hemingway (may she rest in peace) is wonderful in this role. We lost a terrific actress here. The Family is a pastiche of all the stereotypes we Jews love and hate so well: the rich uncle who is a tough businessman with a heart of gold and his bitch of a wife and useless son. The usual hangers-on and assorted nebbishes who work for him are there - God this fits my family to a "T" !!! The scene at the synagogue is wonderful and the Lubliner Rebbe is well interpreted by the great Zvi Scooler. The celebration at the Rumanian restaurant is word for word exact of whatever we had in the 1950's. Shelly Winters is a great actress her role is a treat to watch. Her outburst at the restaurant is the hit of the show. When we heard the audience gasp (99% Jewish) I felt that the movie was an effective comedy - but I also knew that a 99% gentile audience would not see the humour and sadly I was right.

    This is a marginal film and must be accepted as such but that is too bad because there is enough in there to amuse everybody. Elliot Gould and his friend Nick played by my favorite cro-magnon Burt Young are a pair of shleppers that you have to love - that piss scene is wild. The scene in Uncle Benjamin's house with the plastic on the chairs must be preserved in a Jewish museum - that is exactly how we were!!! Sid Caesar is Uncle Benjamin and is a delight. His acting ranges from shtick meshuga to Shakespearean pathos. Anyway grab a copy at the local Blockbusters or whatever and invite the family and...enjoy!! To hell with the bad reviews - what do "they" know ?????
  • OVER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE is probably not well recalled by most people today, but the film is only twenty two years old, and certainly captured a spirit that is rarely seen in American films. For all the so call liberalism of the American cinema, certain aspects of ethnicity are quietly buried. Anti - Semitism was attacked in GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT, but the anti-Semitism under scrutiny was a social form (you can't join certain clubs, you can't get certain jobs, you can't register in certain four - star hotels) which is annoying but somewhat bearable compared to European or Middle Eastern versions. Except for one notorious incident (the Leo Frank trial, and lynching) in Georgia in 1915, it is rare that the degree of anti-Semitism in this country has gotten so hot as to make Jews literally fear for their lives. In the case of the Frank affair, the Anti-Defimation League of B'Nai Brith was created. But that was the real highpoint of rabid anti-Semitism going so far.

    One of the misguided ways that Hollywood has acted to reduce the tension is to ignore or make fun of it or concentrate on other side issues. So if we see Jewish lives at home, it is done in a funny manner. For example: in MY FAVORITE YEAR Alan Swann the famous movie star is invited to a Jewish home for dinner, and he is well treated, but the family act like a bunch of clumsy oafs in their reactions to the polished (if drunken) Swann. Most of the time Jews don't act so stupidly, but not in Hollywood comedies.

    OVER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE tried to mingle the comic with the dramatic in a study of religious bigotry and financial muscle. Alby Sherman (Elliot Gould) is a coffee shop owner in Brooklyn who has been saving his money and planning to buy a fancy eatery on the east side of Manhattan. To do this he is dependent on the good will of his Uncle Benjamin (Sid Caesar), who has made a good living in the clothing trade. Benjamin is very fond of Alby, looking at him as the son he always wanted (Benjamin has a wife and son, but the son is a smirking non-entity, and certainly not one to have a wife and children). However, Benjamin is very conscious of being Jewish, and he wants Alby to marry a Jewish girl. Alby is currently shacked up with Elizabeth (Margaux Hemingway), who is a "shiksa" (a non-Jewish woman). Ben is not happy about this, and basically lets Alby know that if he wishes to get financial assistance from his uncle he has to drop Elizabeth.

    To his credit Alby does not do so - he tries to find alternatives to going to Ben (even toying with a loan shark). Ben, in the meantime, presumes to meddle further by confronting Elizabeth and asking if she really wants to hurt Alby or sacrifice their love to enable him to succeed. Ben, of course, does not see his meddling in a bad light. He even has a replacement for Elizabeth in mind - Alby's distant cousin Cheryl (Carol Kane), a schoolteacher who lives with her elderly father, and appears to be demure and quiet.

    The film follows the twists and turns of our hero and his family and Elizabeth. We see a world that Jews are fully aware of, where members of families know each other's business whether they should or not, and where diplomatic maneuvering is as vital on a small scale as the same maneuvers would be between nation states.

    The film had many funny moments. One I cherish is meek little Cheryl finally cutting loose with the wrong person. Another is when Alby is desperate enough to make a late night phone call from Time Square, turn down the silent request of a derelict for some change, and get a commentary on his generosity he never expected.

    But to me the most interesting part is watching Sid Caesar's performance. Usually playing comic roles, such as in THE BUSY BODY or in Mel Brooks' SILENT MOVIE, Caesar has always showed how to exaggerate successfully for a laugh. Only he would introduce a drunken woman to a dummy as his friend Matthias Kreplach, the millionaire, in THE BUSY BODY. But here, despite some mild comic touches (his dealing with the Japanese businessmen) most of his performance is serious. In fact, OVER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE was Caesar's best straight performance in a motion picture. The scene when he finally collapses and explains why he relied on Alby towards the end of the film was a small marvel, as he literally collapses in tears admitting to decades of personal disappointments.

    Aside from that the performance of Margaux Hemingway haunts me a little. Made less than a decade after her first film (LIPSTICK) she should have been having a first rate career. In many ways OVER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE represented the highpoint of her career, as most of the other titles were far more obscure. She seemed to have the world open to her in 1984, and few could tell that it would be over so badly in twelve years.

    For her, the glimpse into Jewish life and real problems, and for Sid Caesar's best dramatic work, I give OVER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE a "10".
  • strat-814 March 2000
    Ok, this is not a classic, but it has enough nice touches to make it enjoyable. Sometimes good actors make a so-so film less enjoyable because you end up grieving over the waste of talent. Not so here. If you like Carol Kane, Elliott Gould, Shelley Winters, Margaux Hemingway, or Sid Caesar (who gives a knockout performance), if you liked 'Enter Laughing' or 'Crossing Delancey', or even 'Used People', you'll like this. Worth a rent if you're in the right mood.
  • So OK this is not a great film, but there are several excellent moments here, and at the end you feel you have watched something worthwhile.

    Elliott Gould stars as a luncheonette owner making a living in Brooklyn. He has a doting mother (Shelley Winters), a domineering uncle (Sid Caesar), and a non-Jewish girl friend (Margaux Hemingway). He's also overweight, diabetic, and Jewish.

    While this seems a lot like Woody Allen territory and their are plenty of comic moments, there's a dark underside of "otherness" here that gives depth to this film, a serious took at perhaps passing as a White American but being always aware of otherness.

    Of course all of Gould's extended family here are Jewish stereotypes: the language, the gestures, the work ethic, etc. Gould straddles the fence, White but Jewish, Brooklyn but with an eye toward Manhattan. In the Orthodox wedding scene, Gould wears a baseball cap over his yarmulke. His best friend (Burt Young) is Italian. His employee (Robert Gossett) is Black.

    There are two surprising and extraordinary scenes in this film, both quite memorable. One has Gould wandering New York in the wee hours and making a call from a phone booth when he is approached by a speechless derelict gesturing for smokes. He tries to wave him off but eventually hands the old man cigarettes after the old man has urinated on him, a slight twist to doing a good need and getting urinated on for doing it.

    The other is the engagement party scene where Caesar pontificates about the upcoming marriage of Gould to his cousin (Carol Kane) unaware that Gould has no such intentions. Caesar thinks the marriage will take place because of a loan he's giving Gould to buy a Manhattan restaurant. He's also gloating for keeping Gould in the fold, i.e., marrying a Jewish girl.

    But Gould rebels, stands up for his love for Hemingway, and hands back the check. Caesar tries to bully him and slaps him in front of the astonished guests. Gould does the unthinkable. He literally strikes back, reducing Caesar to a tearful rage that ends in a bear hug of anger, fist pounding, and paternal love. Extraordinary. It's all one scene, no cuts, no editing.

    Co-stars include Francine Beers as Ruth, Lynnie Greene as Cynthia, Jerry Lazarus as Caesar's weird son, Zvee Scooler as Rebbe, and Lou David as the loan shark.

    Not for all tastes, but this is a surprising film and worth seeking out.
  • In the opening scene, as the title "Over the Brooklyn Bridge" splashes across the screen, the main characters are shown (in a dramatic shot) driving across the... Manhattan Bridge... I witnessed this egregious error in a Brooklyn theater, back in the day. I swear, if the director or producer had been present, they would have been ripped apart (literally). Anyway, It all goes down hill from there... the cast although usually talented fail to deliver in this one, they simply sleepwalk through a cookie-cutter Hollywood plot, doing the minimum to earn their keep. This film is a tedious bore, full of clich√© lines and cheap devices. it is best sent to the "lost forever" bin.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Not being Jewish myself, I would guess traditional Jews will find this plot a bit simplistic and secularist. For most of the audience it is an entertaining movie. It is hard to see Elliott Gould as overweight, but in this file he plays an overweight, neurotic, and diabetic middle aged ma who falls for a pretty young woman from Philadelphia of Irish descent. His extended family lives in the secular World and does not. His mom runs a deli with a black man working there, and his best friend is an Italian American. His uncle is a successful businessman who wants his nephew to marry a Jewish woman. However, he finds that he loves his non-Jewish woman and also wants to open his own restaurant in Manhattan. He is trying to be his own man, and no matter how polite he is about it it inevitably leads to family conflict. His uncle is pressuring him to marry a Jewish woman that he does not love. In the end, he makes his stand and wins. An entertaining movie, but in real life the pressures may be too great and maybe tradition is not all bad, if you look at the points that the movie Avalon made. It is romanticized in this country to be completely independent, but for most people tradition s also security.
  • I accidentally watched this on TV the other day while I was in the kitchen cooking and all I could think of the whole time was "how in the hell did Elliot Gould ever become a popular actor?" He has no charisma, is not good-looking, is un-funny in the extreme and, sorry, his success seems to prove the old adage that those of the Judaic faith run Hollywood. There is just no other explanation for this rotten, rotten, rotten movie, its insular context and endless slew of Jewish in- jokes. I read the reviews above and gather that some other sons of Abraham enjoyed the film because it reminded them of their own families. Well good for you, but doesn't change the fact that the movie stinks to high heaven. I actually went to a Jewish high school and so I got many of the "jokes" - they still weren't funny.

    First of all, both he and Margaux Hemingway were extremely long in the tooth to be believable as a star-crossed couple kept apart by meddling relatives. He was 46 when he made this film and though Marguax was 16 years his junior (typical Hollywood disgusting age discrepancy favouring the man) she looks frumpy and tired in this role. She also shpeaks with a weird teeth-shucking shound that is very dishtracting and the horrendous script is rendered even more ludicrous by her line delivery. I am amazed by the person who stated above that she was a great actress. (Not sure how to type that sound Scooby Doo makes when baffled, but please imagine it here.) Even so, Hemingway is a million times more desirable and charming than Gould's "Alby" and so, yawn, this film falls squarely in the category of wish-fulfillment fantasies, written by, directed by and starring shlumpy, unattractive males who are inexplicably the objects of desire for rapacious, insatiable, nymphomaniac, and much better-looking females. There are a LOT of films in this category (many of them by Woody Allen) and I hate all of them.

    When was the last time you saw a movie about an overweight middle- aged woman wearing horrible clothes who has to beat off the attentions of some hot young guy? Or how about the one about a shy inexperienced nerdy female teen who is won over by the school hunk, who always saw her inner beauty? What's that...never? Correct! It's not weird when you read the credits and realize who is writing/directing/producing these movies. Hint: it's not middle-aged women.

    Poor Carol Kane did her best with the insane material, I guess, but I was literally agog watching her slither around like a pussycat in the seduction scene. WTF??? It made no sense whatsoever and most importantly, wasn't in the least bit funny. Gould just sat there like he was on 20 mg of Valium and gave her zero, nada, zilch to work with. To say she was chewing the scenery would be a massive understatement.

    I won't reveal what happens in the end because a) it doesn't matter and b) see a.

    I am flabbergasted that this film was ever made, am not at all surprised that it was a box office dodo and fervently wish that all copies of it could be destroyed so no one ever has to see it again. EVER!
  • I think this it was setup as a cheap movie from the beginning. No wonder WB are now on the edge. I just saw it now on Cinemax, and it was just an waste of time. 3by4 layout (cheap), bad quality image (cheap), script that on every minute makes you wonder: why we are doing this??, actors that are playing like they are in from of the execution squad. Many movies from the begginig of the 80s are like this, top crap. Total waste of time to watch this.