Cinema: Gravity Defied

BEING THERE Directed by Hal Ashby Screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski

Being There is a spectacular balancing act. For almost two hours, Writer Jerzy Kosinski, Director Hal Ashby and Star Peter Sellers keep a single, scorchingly witty joke floating miraculously through midair. Though the joke ultimately crashes to earth too early—about 15 minutes before the movie ends—the final letdown does not spoil what has gone before. Here is a comedy that valiantly defies both gravity and the latest Hollywood fashion. There isn't a single laugh in Being There that owes anything to Animal House.

The...

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