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Barney's Version doesn't travel well

Despite stellar performances from Paul Giamatti and crew, the sprawling screenplay lacks emotional impact.

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A string of stellar performances can’t save Barney’s Version from the fact that it fails to distill Mordecai Richler’s final novel into something cinematically digestible. Paul Giamatti fully inhabits the character of Barney Panofsky, a prickly television producer with a taste for scotch and cigars and a knack for seducing beautiful women through sheer determination. In the 30-odd year period depicted onscreen, he collects three wives, buries friends and relatives and is suspected of murder. The sprawl of time and events proves too much to tackle, and while Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Rosamund Pike and Scott Speedman nail their supporting parts, the episodic, fly-by nature of the screenplay doesn’t allow audiences enough time to form an attachment to them or feel the film’s intended emotional impact.

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Barney's Version

Official Site: www.sonyclassics.com/barneysversion

Director: Richard J. Lewis

Writer: Mordecai Richler and Michael Konyves

Producer: Robert Lantos

Cast: Rachelle Lefevre, Rosamund Pike, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Minnie Driver, Bruce Greenwood, Saul Rubinek, Scott Speedman, Mark Addy and Jake Hoffman

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