cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

barney's version

Barney's Version

Starring Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Rachelle LeFevre and Bruce Greenwood
Screenplay by Michael Konyves
Based on the novel by Mordecai Richter
Directed by Richard J. Lewis
website: http://www.sonyclassics.com/barneysversion/

In the very first film class we ever took, way back in high school, we learned that what you take away from a film has a lot to do with what you bring in, emotionally or historically, in the first place. If you are young enough that you still have vibrant grandparents in your life, Barney's Version is probably not for you. For those of parenting age and up, which includes caring for aging parents as well as growing kidlets, Barney's Version is.

IN SHORT: Best of the Year #4. [Rated R for language and some sexual content. 132 minutes]

Barney's Version is also, with the cautions of that first paragraph in place, the very rare "chick flick for men". Cranky rarely gets emotional at movies, period, but this time out . . . Barney's Version turned us into a pitiful, emotionally wrecked shell of a man, sobbing his guts out in a very comfortable screening room. Gee, if word gets out that for once a dating couple could go in to see a movie and the guy comes out in tears, Barney's Version may be doomed. Luckily there's a whole messa femmes in the dating equation that like to let the tears flow. If the film works for them, it will go very well.

Once Upon A Time, Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) lived the freestyle life in Rome. As Barney's Version begins, the title character has surprised his buddies by popping up with Clara (Rachelle Lefevre), a hot shiksa wife in tow. For those whose knowledge of Yiddish is fueled by watching Dinner With Schmucks, "shiksa" means a non-Jewish woman. Depending on whether it is pronounced by a male or a female, the word is either a description or a diss. That would take too long to explain]. Marriage and the freestyle life do not mix well and the marriage ends suddenly and not well.

Relocating to Montreal with the promise of a television gig, Barney is struck dumb by true and undeniable love on the day of his second marriage. The one problem? Said true and undeniable love was not the woman he had just married (who is played by Minnie Driver, who looks quite good in a negligee). While Barney is righteously and properly rejected by the lovely Miriam (Rosamund Pike) again and again, happiness eventually occurs in the most unexpected manner.

Said happiness involves a policeman's service revolver -- a wedding present from Barney's beat cop father Izzy (Dustin Hoffman); the cuckolding of Barney by his BFF Boogie (Scott Speedman) and said BFF's mysterious disappearance after Barney's gun is discharged twice in Boogie's direction by Barney, after a heckuva lot of drinking. Detective O'Hearne (Mark Addy), the top cop on the scene, smells murder the second he gets the case. The investigation that follows brings O'Hearne nose to nose against an angry Izzy. It also provides the material to let the Detective ride what fame his book "With Friends Like These" will bring him long after his official retirement.

All that aside, by the time Barney gets it right, with the successful career as a television writer/producer;a happy marriage with two kids (one of each) and a house in the country, nothing on Earth is going to screw it up. Save a truly unforgivable mistake made by Barney. Thus you have Barney's Version, which lets a whole passel of A-listers rip your heart out. It's mostly Giamatti and Pike's story that does the tearing, and a good hunk of that happens in a piece of story we're not going to spoil. Pike's Miriam is, if you didn't get the earlier hint, wife number three; the true love of Barney's life. More than that we will not say.

By the time the film Barney's Version is over, the mystery of Boogie's disappearance will be solved. Only Barney will figure it out but, for reasons we won't tell, he can't tell anyone the answer to the question of "What Happened to Boogie?" By the time we figured it all out the tears were flowing so freely that said revelation hit like a whack across the back of the head with a fraternity pledge board.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Barney's Version, he would have paid . . .

$8.50

There's a lot more to this film than we've written. We just were too emotionally wrecked to get it all finished when we saw the film two month's before release. If we can suck up the guts to watch it a second time now that it is in release, maybe we'll make it easier on y'all. As far as we're concerned -- and we've had some interesting arguments with other critics -- Barney's Version is neck and neck against The Kids Are All Right as the best of the year.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Richard J. Lewis
Click to buy films starring Paul Giamatti
Click to buy films starring Dustin Hoffman
Click to buy films starring Minnie Driver
Click to buy films starring Rosamund Pike

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.