Cinema: Decent Try

CHAPTER TWO Directed by Robert Moore Screenplay by Neil Simon

One of the clichés that can be set aside is Scott Fitzgerald's notion that American lives lack second acts. We have become a nation of second-acters (or should it be actors?). Everyone seems to be scurrying about trying to re-create himself at least once before his final scene.

Neil Simon's screen adaptation of his Broadway success Chapter Two takes this touching phenomenon seriously. Simon's central characters, a newly widowed writer (James Caan) and a newly divorced actress (Marsha Mason), snap zingers at each other during a wary meeting, a breathless courtship and a...

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