Lisa Schwarzbaum
June 09, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Frankie and Johnny Are Married

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
98 minutes
Limited Release Date
05/28/04
performer
Lisa Chess, Michael Pressman, Alan Rosenberg
director
Michael Pressman
author
Michael Pressman

We gave it a D

Frankie and Johnny Are Married is a fictionalized Los Angeles vanity-movie retelling of what actually happened when TV producer-director Michael Pressman (”Chicago Hope”) decided to direct his wife, Lisa Chess, in an L.A. vanity-theater production of Terrence McNally’s 1987 romantic comedy ”Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.” The movie stars Pressman (who also wrote and directed) and Chess as themselves; Alan Rosenberg (”Chicago Hope”) plays Chess’ prima donna costar, whose egregious behavior gets him fired, inspiring the director (who is producing the show with his own money) to cast himself in the role of Johnny in an attempt to recoup his financial — and marital — losses.

The only metatwist missing in the twittering self-regard of this indulgent home movie is the participation of a documentary video crew — ideally helmed by some TV exec’s USC-grad son — shooting the filmmakers shooting the play within the play. And, perhaps, notes from ”Waiting For Guffman”’s Corky St. Clair.

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