Newsday from New York, New York on December 11, 1982 · 63
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Newsday from New York, New York · 63

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Saturday, December 11, 1982
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63
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movie reviews New comedy and horror THE TOY (PG). It should never have been unwrapped. Feeble kiddie comedy with Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason. At area theaters. By Alex Keiieas 'The Toy" is essentially situation comedy. A tyrannical Louisiana tycoon i Jackie Gleason) buys, or more precisely, rents, an unemployed black journalist (Richard Pryor) to be the companion for his young son (Scott Schwartz) home from military academy. Treated with some delicacy, the idea might have exploited the comic possibilities of such indignity. In fact. The Toy" is a retread of a French movie, "Le Jouet," written by Francis Veber ("La Cage aux Folles"). As it is. The Toy" is insensitive to its material, a crude low-comedy. And a lifeless one. Oh, it moves around a lot, and there are enough pratfalls, pies in the face, bowls of gunk dropped on heads, for two infantile comedies. But the relationships between the neglected spoiled-brat and the father who loves him but can't establish a rapport, and the hired "toy" who ultimately brings them together are all throwaways. Soppy sentimentalism would have been preferable. Pryor has nothing to work with. Which may explain why much of the time, when he's not tediously threatening to quit he needs the money for his mortgage and the bank at his throat he seems to be talking to toys or stuffed animals. The funniest moment in The Toy," sadly, finds Pryor reduced to registering surprise when a boxing robot deals him a low blow. Gleason's U.S. Bates consists primarily of deadpan, with an occasional scowl. It's as if he were the heavy of some high-finance thriller, and it's all wrong, not only for Pryor's manic what-have-I-let-myself-in-for antics, but for Bates' broadly played, dippy wife No. 3 (Teresa Richard Pryor, left, and Jackie Gleason in The Totf; Jackelyn Giroux in Trick or Treats' Ganzel), a supposedly silicone-enhanced blonde whose cleavage causes Pryor's eyes to roll. There's not a whole lot of chemistry, either, between Pryor's Jack Brown and the kid, Eric. Midway through The Toy," Eric tells Brown the irritated butt of his practical jokes that his father lets him do what he wants as long as he stays out of the way. It's then that Brown realizes that Eric needs a friend. Brown's turnaround is about as believable as the piranha-inhabited stream the two fish in. Among the supporting cast are Ned Beatty, as Bates' flunky, driven to drink by his boss' abuse of power yes, there are social messages in this hodgepodge and Wilfred Hyde-White as the doddering butler Bates has won in a card game. Hyde-White keeps tippling from the silver tray of drinks he serves. As any rational man would. TRICK OR TREATS (R). Drab, low-budget horror thriller about a lunatic who escapes from an asylum so he can seek revenge on his wife. Far more tedious than suspensefuL David Carra-dlne, Carrie Snodgress. At theaters everywhere. By Bill KanfnaB Trick or Treats" is a cheaply made scare film that obviously is aiming at the same audience that plunked down $36 million to see "Halloween," a blood-and-gore movie that cost only $300,000 to produce. Among its other severe shortcomings, this silly film has neither the suspense nor quality special effects that "Halloween" had. "Trick or Treats" starts off by showing a man (Peter Jason) dragged kicking and screaming out of his home in a strait-jicket, while his wife (Carrie Snodgress) looks on with a satisfied smirk. Four years later, she and her new gigolo husband (David Carradine) go to a Halloween party, leaving a babysitter to deal with the woman's pudgy child. An inordinately lengthy part of the movie is spent showing how the obnoxious brat plays cruel tricks on the babysitter (Jackelyn Giroux). Pranks like making believe his head has been lopped off. He spits phony blood, he feigns drowning and sets off smoke bombs in the house. When the lunatic escapes dressed as a nurse, the outcome is entirely predictable. The highest degree of suspense in the movie seems to be generated by trying to figure out when it will indeed be-' come suspense fd. Carradine plays the lecherous husband with almost as much obnoxiousness as the kid displays. Snod-greBS ambles through her role with coldly stoic attitude, it seems probably the only sensible thing she could do, given what she had to work with, n art review Androgyny through the ages "Hermaphrodite-Androgyny in Art." Lowe Gallery, Hofstra University, through Dec. 19. 10 AM to 9 PM Tuesday : 10 AM to 4 : 45 PM Wednesday-Friday ; 1 to 5 PM Saturday and Sunday. By Malrolsn Preston Andros is the Greek word for man, gyne for woman. Put them together and you have "androgyny," the existence of both male and female in one. In the more than 60 works on view at Hofstra's Lowe Gallery, we Bee how artists from antiquity to the present have explored that theme. The exhibition puts on view a variety of paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs, all dealing with what Gail Gelburd, the Lowe's director, notes in the catalog as the "interplay of the polarities of masculinity and femininity," the "longing for wholeness." In some pieces, such as the Second Century BC Greek marble "Hermaphrodite," the anonymous sculptor has literally illustrated the union of male and female. The legend tells of the love between Hermaphroditus, the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, and Naiad Salmacis so passionate that they prayed to be united for eternity. The marble work gives us, therefore, an androgynous figure, one with both female and male characteristics. Far more abstract in its presentation of the male-female union is Rela Banks' contemporary work, also in marble. Between those two poles, the Lowe show ranges through all Borts of works in which one sees the Yin-Yang combination. Again and again we see what Gelburd calls "the spiritual union of masculinity and femininity." Sandra Man Ray's photo of Marcel Duchamp Haefker's book "Double You" and Christopher Nakos' "Altered Image," along with Nancy Burson's "Androgyny," present photographic prints in which the oppo-sites are combined. Adam and Eve appear in several pieces. Alfonso Ossorio uses them in a large mixed-media work, and they also are portrayed in a life-size slide projection by Luigi Ontani. Ontani, by the way, serves as the model for both his "Adamo" and "Eva" photographs. Among the more renowned artists included are Aubrey Beardsley and Edvard Munch. Beardsley's book "Salome" shows his art nouveau style, while Munch's work seems to embrace, within an emotional, expres-sionistic framework, a man-woman symbolism. "Rrose Selavy" is a copy of a photograph made by Man Ray, a surrealist of the early 1920s. It presents us with the image of none other than Marcel Duchamp attired in furs, in an alluring pose. If spoken slowly, the double R in "Rrose" in the title makes it sound like "Eros," the mythical symbol of love. Pavel Tchelitchew, too, is represented. There is in his work a recounting of life cycles and human development, along with male-female symbols for procreation. Over and over in this exhibition there are the images of the archetype male and female. The one aggressive, angular, assertive; the other curved, soft in form and exuding tenderness. And then there are the unions, like "Siva-Sakti," the Hindu male-female principle, and Vettor Pisani's masculine-feminine "Blue Oedipus and the Sphinx." What obviously interested the Lowe in assembling this show was the theme, which led to a sacrifice of quality in a fair number of the works on view, and an inordinate accent on photography. Perhaps if the exhibition had narrowed its scope in time and medium, it could have insisted on a higher esthetic standard, n a. CO

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