Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


The Paper

The Paper
Starring:
Michael Keaton, Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Robert Duval, Randy Quaid, Jason Robards, Jason Alexander and Spalding Gray


Rated: R for obscenities and mild violence.
Reviewed by: Chris  
Release date: March 18, 1994 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.

With the excitement, vitality and pulse of a large city newspaper, the fictitious New York Sun has the diversity and quirkiness of different personalities working feverishly against the clock for a big story.

The story unfolds over a 24-hour period in the newsroom. AThe editors are fighting over whether a front page story should be a subway derailment or a couple of black teens who are picked up as suspects in the murder of two middle-class men found in a car in Harlem.

They have pictures and quotes from the passengers on the train, so it should be the logical lead story. One of the columnists tells metro editor Henry Hackett (Michael Keaton) that he over heard on the police scanner that the teens may be innocent. Hackett has a few hours to have his staff track down a quote from the police and pictures of the two boys. No easy task as the authorities are keeping mum and the only photographer available is a nervous rookie. The large clock in the newsroom ticks off the minutes until the deadline, with the managing editor, Alicia Clark (Glenn Close) nagging Hackett that a delay costs the financially strapped paper "$12,000 every half hour.":

The pace is breakneck, with a lot of characters, dialogue and story lines incorporated. Hackett's wife, played by Marisa Tomei, is hugely pregnant and having second thoughts about giving up her career as a reporter to have a baby. AThe editor-in-chief, played by a harried Robert Duval, is a chain-smoking, coughing, estranged father with an enlarged prostate. Randy Quaid is a columnist who carries a gun because he's afraid of the City Parking Commissioner since his scathing front page reports about the Parking Authority. Close, in charge of keeping costs down at the paper, is mainly interested in lining her own deep pockets with any savings she can squeeze out of her coworker. She and Hackett disagree on everything and at one hilarious point, have a knock down, drag out fight over which story to print.

Director Ron Howard weaves all of these stories and characters into a fine-tuned, fast paced, funny film. Well written by David and Stephen Koepp, the dialogue, which even includes the phrase "Stop the presses," is snappy, unpredictable and at times, ribald. The middle of the film slows down a bit, but a whacky ending involving fist fights, a shooting and babies being born, more than makes up for it. For an entertaining fun evening, spend 24 hours at the Sun.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
The Paper     B+                     B+ 

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