I'm Not Rappaport
(12) 129 min
There’s a quiet, mirthful kind of charm to Herb Gardner’s Broadway hit of 1985, here transposed to the screen in this 1996 version directed by the writer. It tells the story of two old men who meet in Central Park on a daily basis, one an elderly Jewish radical, trade unionist and former communist, the other a black janitor in fear of redundancy.
The roles made legendary on Broadway by Judd Hirsch and Cleavon Little are here taken over by Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis, and their cantankerous political discussions still ring with a bittersweet melancholy, serving to contrast the political inertia of the decades after the 80s with the achievements of these old codgers’ generation. The old men take on muggers and drug lords with realistically mixed results, and pull plenty of pathos in to their comeuppance. It all works pretty well, but there are times where the staginess of the piece detracts from its effect, and it’s perhaps 20 minutes overlong. Extras include a script and production notes playable on a PC.