THE END: AMC's Academy 6, Buckingham, Jefferson, Laurel Cinema, Oxon Hill, Roth's Mt. Vernon 2, Shirley Duka 3, Tenley Circle, Whecton Plaza 3 and White Flint 5.
"It's the same thing Ali MacGraw had in 'Love Story,' isn't it?"
Burt Reynolds is reacting to the news of his impending death the way any mature, self-respecting person would. That is, he screams at his doctor, stamps his feet, goes to pieces in a crowded elevator and generally makes a complete ass of himself.
At first it looks like this movie is going to be one of those rare treats, a summertime comedy with a little bite to it. But "The End" never really lives up to its beginning. It's much too long and, after a while, the one-track theme - how a man reacts when he's suddenly told he has less than three months to live - begins to get old.
Not that there aren't some genuinely funny and inspired bits. Norman Fell is excellent as the doctor who breaks the news to Reynolds as graphically as possible. And the usually oh-so-sincere Robby Benson is, for once, perfectly cast as an inexperienced young priest. His confessional scene with Reynolds is probably the funniest in the movie.
Those with a high Burt Reynolds thresh-hold will love this film. He directed it, and made sure he was in every scene. Burt Reynolds with his shrink. Burt Reynolds with his priest. Burt Reynolds with his parents. Burt Reynolds with his girlfriend. Burt Reynolds with his ex-wife. Burt Reynolds with his daughter. It's like an interminable Johnny Carson monologue.
You have to give Reynolds credit for trying. There are jokes for every possible situation. Hospital jokes (Loudspeaker: "Dr. Cameron, Dr. Cameron, report to Intensive Care immediately . . . Dr. Cameron? Never mind."). Suicide jokes. bathroom jokes. Sex jokes. Nuthouse jokes. Polish jokes. There's something here to offend everyone.
This movie isn't really bad. If you're bored, or a captive audience, you're glad for any diversion. But after sitting through an hour of "The End," you may find yourself wishing it would.