Review: The man-children of the Jules Feiffer-written comedy ‘Bernard and Huey’ are out of time
If the sex-obsessed male protagonists in the contemporary comedy “Bernard and Huey” talk like they’re from an entirely different era, that would likely have to do with the unpublished, 30-year-old Jules Feiffer script that serves as the film’s raison d’etre — as well as a handicap.
Updated to present-day Manhattan, the Dan Mirvish-directed film catches up with a pair of college friends who had formed an unlikely bond back in the late ’80s.
When pudgy, disheveled Huey (an effective David Koechner) shows up unannounced at the loft of his old impressionable buddy, Bernard (Jim Rash), you don’t need one of the many flashbacks to realize his chick-magnet days are well in the past.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t take long for the guys to pick up where they left off with their highly-intellectualized sexual pursuits, although nebbish Bernard has now become the improbable player, and his latest conquest happens to be Huey’s 25-year-old estranged daughter, Zelda (Mae Whitman).
Sharing some evident DNA with “Carnal Knowledge,” the 1971 film that established Feiffer, the longtime Village Voice cartoonist, as an equally gifted screenwriter, “Bernard and Huey” respectfully retains Pfeiffer’s distinctive speech patterns, but lacking the stronger directorial imprint of a Mike Nichols, what may have sounded fresh and daring back in the day quickly grows mannered and repetitive.
Like its developmentally-arrested, misbehaving man-children, the long-shelved source material hasn’t aged particularly well.
‘Bernard and Huey’
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; also on VOD
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