King of the Corner Movie Review

Peter Riegert got a bad beat off of Animal House. Pegged in his debut film appearance as a crude, slapstick, comic actor (and not a very handsome one at that), Riegert didn't do much of anything after -- nothing much that you've probably seen, anyway.

Riegert will probably have the last laugh. He's starred in some real gems, like Local Hero and Traffic, and he even earned an Oscar nomination for his short film, By Courier.

Today, Riegert is an unfortunate staple of made-for-TV movies, but when he's not paying the bills, he's actually writing, directing, and starring in interesting fare like King of the Corner, a tragicomic look at a man's life, coming undone in middle age. He's married to Isabella Rossellini, whose severe haircut drives him to an affair. His underling at the office is gunning for his job. His teenage daughter is growing up too fast. Oh, and dad is dying. Not much is looking up for Riegert's Leo Spivak, but he'll get by somehow.

Watching him get by is more fun than it sounds, thanks to Riegert's earnest performance. (He's in nearly every scene.) Movies like this (and by God there are a ton of them -- every actor seems to make this film when he hits his mid-40s) have a tragic tendency to be maudlin and hateful, dwelling on how pathetic their lead characters are and showing no growth over the running time. But Riegert has fun with it, drawing on his comedic roots and spinning situations into directions you probably aren't expecting. Let's just say that casting Eric Bogosian as the worst rabbi ever was an inspired idea.

Don't get me wrong, King of the Corner is still unneccesary as a movie. It doesn't add anything to the genre -- and its ordinariness makes it obvious why the film got no theatrical release of any import. That said, it's perfectly average in almost every other way.


Comments

King of the Corner Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, 2004

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