Slice-of-life piece about a young Jewish man, Larry Lapinsky(Lenny Baker), with designs on being an actor, struggling not only to make ends meet so he can carry out his profession and grow as an actor through a studio teacher, but also overcoming the domineering presence of his overbearing, at-times maniacal mother("She invented the Oedipus complex" says Larry) Fay(Shelley Winters, outstanding as always). The setting is Greenwich village in the 50's amongst the art crowd where Larry becomes immersed in the lifestyle. We see how his life changes as Larry becomes good friends with several various people(a young Chris Walken as a poetic Lothario who enjoys bedding all kinds of women;Lois Smith as a suicidal painter;Ellen Green as Larry's love-interest Sarah;Antonio Fargas as a gay wannabe actor whose whole life is one big lie).
It's a breath of fresh air, this movie, and a break from the doldrums of typical Hollywood cinema. This is the kind of film that allows actors to spread their wings and create vivid, realistic characters. The film feels so fresh and authentic. You really are a vital part of these people's lives and dreams thanks to Mazursky's intelligent portrait. You can really see how much Mazursky loves New York City(specifically Brooklyn and Greenwich Village)and these people that live there.
Jeff Goldblum has a very funny role as a smart-mouthed struggling actor whose loud-mouth is like a leaky faucet which can not shut itself off.
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