Elaine May Marjorie Rosen - Essay

Marjorie Rosen

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Judging by A New Leaf and The Heartbreak Kid, Elaine May] is like an Uncle Tom whose feminine sensibilities are demonstrably nil. May enjoys broad caricatures, especially of her women characters, and there's something self-serving and snide about them. Their menacing "satire" recalls The Women, but Clare Boothe Luce's play, for better or worse, was written forty years ago; May works in the present. In A New Leaf, she directs herself as the classic drippy spinster, a weirdo rich botanist named Henrietta transformed into awkward loveliness by a money-hungry dilettante. The Heartbreak Kid is even more discomforting, exhuming fifties' stereotypes: the sloppy lower-class bride …, the...

(The entire section is 409 words.)