Ed Lauter

The dusted-off comedy ‘Chief Zabu’ falls flat, even with a politically ambitious N.Y. developer

The dusted-off comedy ‘Chief Zabu’ falls flat, even with a politically ambitious N.Y. developer

Taking the 2016 presidential race as a sign, Zack Norman and Neil Cohen elected to finally put the finishing touches on their never-completed 1986 comedy about a New York real estate developer with lofty political ambitions.

As it turns out, the resulting “Chief Zabu” may have been buried for the past three decades, but this tiresomely talky would-be satire is no treasure.

Having aspirations of being the sort of guy who gets to see his name on hospitals and “have opinions on issues,” Manhattan realtor Ben Sydney (Allen Garfield) seizes what appears to be a golden opportunity when he meets George Dankworth (Allan Arbus).

A well-dressed scam artist,...

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