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The Paper

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Paper

Starring: Michael Keaton, Robert Duvall
Director: Ron Howard
Rated: R
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: March 1994
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Richard Price, Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Randy Quaid, Jason Robards, Jason Alexander, Spalding Gray, Catherine O'Hara

Review by Steve Rhodes
3½ stars out of 4

Director Ron Howard is a master craftsman at taking the viewer into another profession - remember how you felt the terror of being a fireman in BACKDRAFT? In THE PAPER you enter the newspaper world. You and your colleagues have a half a day to get the front page story right and scoop your competition.

The movie starts at a good clip, but by the end, you are on a roller coaster ride as the background investigative reporting just is not happening fast enough to get to the 8pm press run. By the end, your heart is racing. Wonderful images as the building actually shakes every time the big presses run. Although not technically realistic perhaps, it remains a perfect metaphor.

At a surface level, THE PAPER is a comedy. I laughed out loud constantly. The script is extremely funny and Michael Keaton, as the Metro Editor, delivers the lines as only he can. The newsroom scene where they are deciding on the lead story for tomorrow is great. The ripostes between Keaton, his boss (Glenn Close) and her boss (Robert Duvall) are classics. You feel like you are there and arguing with them.

Keaton's wife (charmingly played by Marisa Tomei) is a reporter on maternity leave about to have a baby. This story within the larger story was touching and had me crying some by the end. You see, I think the movie ultimately is not a comedy - although it is extremely funny. This is a first rate drama. It simultaneously made me want to work day and night for a newspaper like this to get out the daily big story while at the same time it made me want to take it easy and enjoy my family as the only thing in life that really matters.

Okay, it is not perfect. Keaton's boss (Close) comes in to chew him out for something, and he interrupts her with the line "first, let me say how great you look". In real life, this could get you in BIG trouble. The cops are evil and in stupid ways. I did not buy that part of the plot. The scene by the presses works great in the movie but would never happen that way in the real world. But, this is a movie and a darn good one. If I just wanted to see real life, I would have gone to the mall.

THE PAPER races along at 1:52 thanks to superlative editing by Daniel P. Hanley and Michael J. Hilland. It is rated R, but I thought it should have been PG-13. Certainly everyone above the age of say 10 should love it. I give it *** 1/2 and strongly recommend it to you.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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