Elaine May John Simon - Essay

John Simon

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Elaine May, a gifted comic artist,] has chosen to make something impossible: a film about two horrid fellows alternately abusing and greasily cajoling each other (and equally repulsive either way) when not getting into fights with other men or, for a little variety, maltreating the hapless women in their lives. Awful as this premise is, there is worse to come. One of these two old buddies may have a contract out on his life; the other is trying either to save or to finger him. Our sympathies are manipulated in such a way that we must keep switching allegiances: Now we are dragged into feeling pity for an utter louse, now we are forced to recoil at the creepiness of a dedicated friend.

The idea seems...

(The entire section is 472 words.)