Cinema: Kicking the Habit

Hollywood usually gets its bearings from the weather vane rather than the compass. Since the wind has been blowing chilly from Indochina, a new movie or two have gingerly and unconvincingly suggested that America's flaws are innate rapacity and violence.

One such is Cold Turkey, an extended sitcom loaded with the kind of jokes that induce canned laughter. Like the Mock Turtle, Writer-Director Norman Lear attempts an arithmetic composed of Ambition, Distraction, Uglification and Derision. A tobacco tycoon (the late Edward Everett Horton) offers $25 million to any American city whose inhabitants can quit smoking for 30 days, on the plausible...

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