“Belonging to Max Herschel had a lot of advantages: it was fun and first class all the way.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
To that end, Allen seems to get many of the details of this particular universe “right” — most notably in the way everything happens at a faster-than-expected pace, with King autocratically dictating orders left and right, pausing only to break down in temporary tantrums over minor details he can’t control. Indeed, King’s performance is spot-on throughout, indicating unexpected star power.
Much more problematic is the key casting of Ali MacGraw as his lover, “Bones” Burton; though she tries hard, MacGraw simply isn’t up to the task of inhabiting this undeniably complex character — a powerful female television executive who is nonetheless content to live as King’s mistress for years on end.
As events get more and more complicated and treacherous in their relationship, she begins to exhibit the same forlorn expression far too often (and is shown digging for solace in a pan of homemade fudge at least one too many times). Where’s her bite? It comes in fits and starts (most notably during the infamous Bergdorff-Goodman’s brawl), but is never fully present or believable. Meanwhile, though the poster’s tagline proclaims, “They’re rich. They’re in love. They’re negotiating”, this isn’t quite accurate, given that it’s clearly King who holds the purse strings in the relationship, from beginning to end. In sum, we just don’t learn enough about “Bones” to really “get” her, other than on the most surface level — which makes it twice the shame that her character’s voiceover was chosen to bookend the film, rather than Loy’s (who would have been a MUCH more logical option).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: