Bar­ney loves you

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Robert Nott The New Mex­i­can

IBar­ney’s Ver­sion, comic drama, rated R, Re­gal DeVargas, 2.5 chiles Bar­ney’s Ver­sion opens with a close-up of a glass of liquor, a smol­der­ing cigar in an ash­tray, and an over­turned vial of pills. Bar­ney is call­ing his ex-wife at 3:30 in the morn­ing, which doesn’t make her new hus­band happy, par­tic­u­larly since Bar­ney wants to know what he should do with the nude pho­tos he has of her. The phone call causes the new hus­band to suf­fer a heart at­tack, but Bar­ney doesn’t care: come the morn­ing, he blithely stum­bles off to his job at his com­pany, To­tally Un­nec­es­sary Pro­duc­tions. You just know it’s go­ing to be one of those days.

Bar­ney has had one of those lives: too much drink, some drugs, plenty of cigars, the in­ex­pli­ca­ble dis­ap­pear­ance of a close friend (was it mur­der?), and three wives, which was two too many for Bar­ney. But Miriam, that last one — the one he called in the mid­dle of the night — well, she is a win­ner. She’s the one who teaches him how to love.

Writ­ten by Michael Konyves, Bar­ney’s Ver­sion is based on the late Cana­dian writer and jour­nal­ist Morde­cai Rich­ler’s mem­ory novel of the same ti­tle. (Among Rich­ler’s other works is 1959’s The Ap­pren­tice­ship of Duddy Kravitz, which led to the 1974 film ver­sion). Bar­ney’s Ver­sion is an un­pre­dictable movie, which is very much in its fa­vor, but it’s also a film in need of tighter edit­ing and a stronger script. As it looks back on the life, loves, and losses of its pro­tag­o­nist from the mid1970s on, Bar­ney’s Lives just doesn’t have the power to sus­tain it­self with­out ask­ing for some ex­tended pa­tience on the part of the viewer.

Right bride, wrong wed­ding: Gia­matti and Rosamund Pike

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