The word charming seldom comes to mind when I think of film, however, it is the perfect word to describe the directorial debut of Richard Benjamin, at the helm of 1982's "My Favorite Year," a charming, gentle and humorous film starring Peter O'Toole as Alan Swann, a swashbuckling star of the 50's who spends more time getting drunk than doing any stage work. His perfect foil in the film is Beny Stone (Mark Linn-Baker), a young up-and-coming studio guy who works for the King Kaiser Show. Kaiser (Joseph Bologna) has decided he wants Swann on his show, and sets out to get Swann and assigns Stone the task of keeping him sober through the appearance. it proves to be a more daunting task than anyone could imagine.
Watching the chemistry between Baker and O'Toole is similar to watching Baker's chemistry with Bronson Pinchot during his television series, "Perfect Strangers." Baker is a consummate straight-man and does extremely well with those actors who bounce to the other end of the spectrum.
While Benjamin does a nice job of directing, it truly is O'Toole that makes "My Favorite Year" such a charming, memorable little film. His Oscar-nominated performance is gentle, sweet, irreverent and constantly funny.
Fans of the golden age of television will fall in love with "My Favorite Year," and O'Toole fans will certainly revel in this, one of his finest comic performances. "My Favorite Year", with the possible exception of "Lawrence of Arabia," is my favorite Peter O'Toole performance.
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