Man of the Century

Man of the Century

This one-joke movie would have made a classic two-reel short. At 77 minutes it overstays its welcome, yet its goofy preposterousness is so sweet-natured that you'll probably develop a grudging fondness for it. Gibson Frazier, with his crackerjack musical-comedy moves and long, sharp-edged, comic-strip face, plays an aggressively chipper newspaperman named Johnny Twennies--a cross between the go-getters Harold Lloyd played in silent comedies and the motor-mouth hipsters perfected by Lee Tracy and Jimmy Cagney in the early talkies. Johnny wears '20s duds, writes on a vintage typewriter, sends telegrams instead of e-mail--yet he's living in modern-day New York City. He doesn't register anything that wouldn't have fit into the world of those movies from which he appears to have sprung: for instance, that his girlfriend (Susan Egan) is horny as a bedbug, or that his photographer sidekick (Anthony Rapp) is gay. None of these comic ideas comes to much, but Frazier (who cowrote with director Adam Abraham) can really dish out the snappy patter, and the black-and-white camerawork is the bee's knees. --Richard T. Jameson

Genre: Comedy, Romance

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