JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT -- At nine area theaters.
Under the guise of being a tough comedy, "Just Tell Me What You Want" is an anti-Semitic movie. Author Jay Presson Allen and director Sidney Lumet probably thought they were presenting fresh characters rather than ancient stereotypes, but what they've got is a revival of the Jewish Conspiracy.
The film shows a world controlled by vulgar Jews with a greedy penchant for art treasures and gentile women, and with more consideration for the former than the latter.
Their willing victims are not attractive, either, and one could conclude, as the heroine does, that if everyone has a price, a frank buyer is more admirable than a hypocritical seller. But that does not wipe out the slur: Susceptibility to flattery and bribery is seen as an understandable and general human characteristic, but the possession of unversal financial and psychological control is specifically attributed to Jews.
Significantly, the biggest scene has Ali MacGraw, as the mistress of a Jewish tycoon (Alan King), beating up her benefactor in Bergdorf Goodman's and chasing him to his limousine while a collection of women, all with shopping bags from nearby expensive stores, applaud: the revolt of the bought against the buyers.
They may have been spending the day spending money, but they're elated to see someone turn on a man who pays the bills.
The mistress' fury is because the man has refused to sponsor her wallowing in his luxury after she has turned on him for not also buying her movie company and has married a silly young man who wrote a play idealizing PLO terrorists. It's the tycoon's financial revenge that's dirty, not her average, which is moral indignation.
Usually in an Ali MacGraw movie gets blamed on Ali MacGraw, and there'll be a wild hoot when people hear her character claiming to have won four Emmys.
But it's not only her usual performance as a spoiled brat that's flat and unattractive -- all the roles are one-dimensional. King's lines mostly begin with the bark, "Get me. . ."; Dina Merrill, his aristocratic blonde alcoholic wife, toys symbolically with a diamond earrings; Myrno Loy is a crisp crackling secretary; Peter Weller is the playwright, whose idealism is connected with having an unheated Vermont farm; and Keenan Wynn a Jewish tycoon who controls the rest of the world.
There's not a part that doesn't need rewriting by anti-defamation league or another.