Mistress

Starring: Robert Wuhl, Martin Landau, Robert DeNiro, Danny Aiello, Eli Wallach, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jean Smart, Jace Alexander, Tuesday Knight, Laurie Metcalf, Christopher Walken
Directed By: Barry Primus

I found this random film I never knew existed on Amazon. It had a great cast, and I’m partial to films about the industry. IMDB brands this a comedy, which is unfortunate. It also has a low score, which ends up being 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, so there’s something. Barry Primus is mostly a character actor, but he tried his hand at directing here. I can see why he never directed another feature.

Robert Wuhl feels miscast here, in a role felt more suited for Albert Brooks. He’s not a great actor here, often choosing to stare blankly to express emotion. Landau isn’t given really anything to do, and is wasted in a very boring role. Most of the cast is wasted, actually, from DeNiro to Wallach. The only one who really stood out to me was Sheryl Lee Ralph. The rest of the cast probably could have just not done this film.

The idea behind the script is fine, but there’s no kick to it. It’s never funny, and it’s not serious enough to be counted as a drama. And Wuhl’s performance ruins the dramatic depth of the film. It’s an old film that didn’t really get much notice, so it’s not like you’re going to run out and watch it, but this is just me saying that you didn’t miss out. Mistress is a forgotten 90’s flop for a reason. It made a little over a million, which is why you probably didn’t know it even existed. Only hardcore DeNiro fans probably sought this film out.

It’s boring, it’s not funny, and it doesn’t work dramatically either. It just limps along until the final frame, by which time you actually don’t care what the outcome is. It chooses to neither really go with a happy ending or a sad ending, rather than to go with the “more to come” ending, with little resolution. If there was a film equivalent of beige, this would be it. It’s not offensively bad, but it is instantly forgettable. Had I waited a day to write a review of the film, I probably would have forgotten what it was about already.

FINAL GRADE: C-

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