Hit & Runway
The premise of the film has great possibilities. Italian-American, would-be screenwriter Alex (Michael Parducci, Gravesend)
has a chance through a family connection to submit a script to an action star. There's only one problem: he can't seem to
write. Despite taking a class in screenwriting (nicely lampooned with Jonathan Hogan as the supercilious teacher), Alex is
lacking. Through an odd set of circumstances, he happens upon a play written by the nebbishy, gay Elliot Springer (Peter
Jacobson) and seeks Elliot's assistance, even though they basically aren't acquainted. Only when Alex agrees to facilitate a
date between Elliot and hunky waiter Joey (Kerr Smith) who works at his family's restaurant does Elliot agree to help. In a
twist on the old dictum about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Alex gives Elliot optimism while Elliot bestows on Alex
experience. Together, they make an intriguing and talented combination.
<4> One of the more popular themes to comedies (often of the romantic variety) is "opposites attract," or more precisely,
two people with seemingly little in common discover they can find common ground. It has been a staple for ages; think
Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing or, in contemporary times nearly anything by Neil Simon. Simon, in fact, took the
idea to a new plain when he made it about friends (not romance) with The Odd Couple. Screenwriters have been using
some variation on this chestnut for so many years now that it has become predictable. So, when someone injects a new twist
on this old theme, it is reason to sit up and take note. Such is the case with Hit and Runway, an amusing new comedy written
by Jaffe Cohen and Christopher Livingston (who also directed).
Cohen may be known to some as one of the trio of standup comics called "Funny Gay Males" while Livingston had a career
as a songwriter. (To get it out of the way, Livingston is also the son of former Capitol Records executive Alan Livingston
and his wife the actress Nancy Olson, who was Academy Award nominated for her supporting role in the 1950 classic
Sunset Blvd.) They have been a writing team for about a dozen or so years and this screenplay is loosely based on their
working relationship.
What so pleasant about Hit and Runway is the tentative but very real friendship that develops between the two main
characters. From total strangers, they gradually learn to trust one another, opening up about various things, from romantic
problems -- Joey loves Jewish men while Alex starts dating an aspiring screenwriter (Judy Prescott) from his class.
The script may sometimes seem a bit schematic, but upon closer examination, so does Neil Simon's work. Still, there are a
number of amusing moments, such as when Elliot and Joey attend a gay synagogue and everyone, including the rabbi, hits on
the waiter, or Alex's original idea of a square-jawed action hero (played by model-turned-actor Hoyt Richards) working
undercover as a male model (hence the title).
In his feature debut, Livingston handles the camera placement well and elicits strong lead performances from Parducci and
especially Jacobson.
Hit and Runway also nicely captures the flavor of what it is to be a struggling artist in a world where commercialism runs
rampant and the gentle satire of big-time Hollywood (while nothing that hasn't been seen in other films) is handled with
finesse. While ultimately a mixed bag, the film has more going for it than some of the large studio fare, most of which feels
slapped together. The creators of Hit and Runway clearly care about their characters and that (and the commitment from the
actors) ultimately shines through.

MPAA Rating: R (language, sexual content and some violent images)
© 2005 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.