KING OF THE CORNER (Peter Riegert). 93 minutes. Opens Friday (February 10). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Ever wonder what Death Of A Salesman would be like if it were reimagined as comedy? Wonder no longer.
Meet Leo Spivak ( Peter Riegert ), a long-time champion in the selling of useless items to people who don't know any better. His latest products? A device that makes your phone voice sound like Gregory Peck's and a home burglar alarm that sounds like a couple fighting.
Spivak's powers of persuasion are a thing of beauty, but the day he's playing mentor to 20-something protegé Ed Shiffman ( Jake Hoffman - no, not a chip off Dustin's block), the old magic fails him. Not surprising when you consider everything he's dealing with: issues with wife Rachel ( Isabella Rossellini ), his ailing father ( Eli Wallach ), Shiffman possibly angling for his job. One thing is certain: Spivak is having quite the mid-life crisis.
Often hilarious, if a little bit confused, this film (based on the book Bad Jews And Other Stories, by Gerald Shapiro ) is actor/writer/director Riegert's Passion Of The Jew, shopped around from town to town personally in hopes of gaining great advance buzz. Riegert is great, and inspired casting ( Eric Bogosian as a sly rabbi) helps, but like any pet project, it could stand a ton of editing, an objective eye and a little less reverence for its subject.