CHEAP DETECTIVE: Aspen Hill, Jenifer, K-B Georgetown, Loehmann's, Marlow, New Carroliton, Springfield Mall, Tysons Twin.
Neil Simon does a Humphrey Bogart impression. He writes Humphrey Bogart-type lines, and he has found an actor, Peter Falk, who knows how to squeeze them out like the last of the toothpaste trying to get out the tube. As Humphrey Bogart impressions go, this one is not bad.
But Neil Simon's friends, and perhaps Peter Falk's friends, too, should pass the word that we've all seen it now, and besides, Humphrey Bogart impressions are getting to be a drug on the market.
Their current one is "The Cheap Detective," out just two years after "Murder by Death." The earlier picture featured Falk's Bogart as one of several detective characters familiar to movie-goers, this one is entirely devoted to the Bogart routine.
For about 20 minutes, it's funny. It takes place, the introduction announces, "in a time when a man could betray a woman without feeling guilty." The Bogart character has laundry tickets on his undershirts, and is cool and tough to the point of telling a crowd of Frenchmen who have just heard news of the fall of Paris, "Sorry about Paris, folks."
But enough. On and on it goes, with the question of Sam playing it or not playing it (the song in this case being "Jeepers Creepers, Where'd You Get Them Peepers?"); Eileen Brennan exiting with "If you want me, just dial - you know how to dial, don't you?" and so on.
You get the idea. We all got the idea. It's time for a new act.