The life of a stand-up comic, one would think, is inherently dramatic: the lowly beginnings, the need for acceptance, the ability to turn personal insecurities and fears into material--all provide great fodder for a film. So why do filmmakers keep blowing it? Two recent movies, 1988's
PUNCHLINE and last year's THIS IS MY LIFE, attempted to deal with the subject but succumbed to cheap sentimentality and unfocused screenplays. Unfortunately, the same can be said for MR. SATURDAY NIGHT, comedian Billy Crystal's directorial debut.
The film is more ambitious, tracing the rise, fall and partial comeback of the fictional Buddy Young, Jr. (Crystal), who, though achievin...