13 April 2009 | moonspinner55
The hotel staff are much funnier than the guests...
European and American characters intermingle in London for comedic Neil Simon stories underlined with pathos or sentiment. Simon's somewhat-withered adaptation of his play is seemingly an extension of many ideas or characters from his theatrical feature "California Suite"...and one that is not above copping ideas from other movies as well. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an American on her honeymoon without a husband; Madeline Kahn is another tourist who goes out on a date with Scotsman Richard Mulligan (dressed up like David Niven in "Separate Tables"); Michael Richards and Julie Hagerty, in town for Wimbledon, are sidelined by slapstick-y bad luck; while actress Patricia Clarkson reunites with the ex-husband she still holds a torch for, Kelsey Grammar (playing gay). Simon's rhythm hasn't changed over the years: he sets up a joke wryly, detonates the joke dryly, and then delivers a comeback zinger. The whole movie is a series of zingers, most of which are met with stony silence (this is one sitcom that could use a laugh-track). Apparently cast with an eye on the NBC-TV market, the picture could really use some headier talent (Clarkson does well, though the supporting cast making up the staff get the biggest laughs). Louis-Dreyfus has an amusing bit telling a lie which gets bigger and bigger, and Richards' pinched nerve (while an easy target for visual jokes) has some funny repercussions. The TV production is rather cut-rate (as is the score and photography), however it's a relatively painless comedy--albeit one that is passed its prime.