Man Of The Century

What could have been a great short film revolving around a central character who, for some unexplained reason, thinks he's living in the 1920s, is stretched into 80 minutes of nerve-jangling crazy comedy. Johnny Twennies (Gibson Frazier) is a penny-a-line newspaperman for NYC's foundering Sun-Telegram who refuses to acknowledge that it's no longer the Jazz...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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What could have been a great short film revolving around a central character who, for some unexplained reason, thinks he's living in the 1920s, is stretched into 80 minutes of nerve-jangling crazy comedy. Johnny Twennies (Gibson Frazier) is a penny-a-line

newspaperman for NYC's foundering Sun-Telegram who refuses to acknowledge that it's no longer the Jazz Age: He wears a collar and spats, types his Walter Winchell-esque column "What's the Scoop?" on an old upright and uses words like "moxie" and "swell." Johnny prowls the town with an ear

to the ground for hot tips, but Johnny's editor is gunning for a real scoop to boost circulation. Johnny, meanwhile, is being strong-armed by two thugs into filing a bogus story on the drowning death of their boss, the mysterious Mr. Pitt, who'd like to save himself the trouble of being

indicted on racketeering charges. Complicating matters are Johnny's girl Samantha (Susan Egan), who's beginning to think her beau's sexual conventionality is just a cover for homosexuality; his partner, Timmy (Anthony Rapp), a disgruntled photographer who really is gay; and, of course, the fact

that Johnny is living 70 years in the past. Frazier does a marvelous impersonation of the fast-talking, no-nonsense newshound of early '30s comedies, and his dialogue (which he cowrote with director Adam Abraham) captures some of the slangy, rat-a-tat spirit of Hecht and MacArthur's dizzying FRONT

PAGE repartee. But the film itself mimics the kind of comedy that doesn't date particularly well to begin with, and third-act contrivances one might tolerate on the Late Show become exceedingly tiresome. In all fairness, it's a pretty sharp carbon-copy of the kind of film made at a time when,

anxious to make the most of the new sound technology, movies never quite knew when to shut up. Ditto Johnny Twennies.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: What could have been a great short film revolving around a central character who, for some unexplained reason, thinks he's living in the 1920s, is stretched into 80 minutes of nerve-jangling crazy comedy. Johnny Twennies (Gibson Frazier) is a penny-a-line… (more)

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