The Beauty of the Ordinary -- A melodrama? Percy Adlon doesn’t even think about turning
this story into a heavy drama. On the contrary: decisively, from the start, he unravels
the burlesque comedy. His trick: The main person isn’t one of the protagonists. Instead
it’s a place; to be exact, it is Jonathan’s warehouse… Then, all of a sudden, shines
on her [Davidovich’s] face what Adlon aims for in all his films: the beauty of the
ordinary. (Peter Buchka, SZ, DECEMBER 1993)
Percy Adlon’s latest American microcosm is set in a storage facility where the forgotten
and marginal mingle with the hoi polloi… His unique method of tackling everyday life
has been both the greatest strength and the most problematic aspect of his commercial
appeal. The helmer consistently elicits fine performances and creates distinctive
looks for his films. “Younger and Younger” is no exception. (Leonard Klady, VARIETY,
INTERNATIONAL VARIETY, August 9, 1993
By Leonard Klady
The iconoclast oeuvre of Percy Adlon expands by another unusual human comedy with
“Younger and Younger.” Superficially a family drama of an errant, philandering father,
the yard spins out from its simple premise into fantasy, music, black comedy and
innumerable offbeat digressions. It’s a mad, wild soufflé served up by actors at
the top of their form. Too many for the mainstream, it needs a carefully considered
campaign to ensure strong specialized results.
While the film isn’t quite a bull’s eye, it is chockablock with intriguing elements
and echoes of Adlon’s earlier “Bagdad Cafe”. His latest American microcosm is set
in a storage facility where the forgotten and marginal mingle with the hoi polloi.
Jonathan Younger (Donald Sutherland) is the titular overseer of the activity. Comporting
himself in the manner of some exiled European royal, he greets both regulars and
new accounts as if they were entering some grand estate. He’s expert at providing
the illusion that the dark cubicles are the key attractions of an amusement park.
He is all artifice. The real work falls upon his dowdy, badly neglected wife, Penelope
(Lolita Davidovich). She abides his transgressions, his indolence and selfishness,
because she truly holds the reins.
Jonathan seems to care only about their son, Winston (Brendan Fraser) who is studying
economics in England. He dreams of Winston’s graduation and subsequent return to
carry on the family business.
Not one for conventional narrative, Adlon, who co-wrote the script with his son Felix,
dots the story with numerous subplots and colorful characters. Sally Kellerman and
Julie Delpy pop up as a mother and daughter who are the subject of media scrutiny
when Kellerman’s husband dies under curious circumstances.
There is also considerable attention given a pipe organ located in the bowels of
the establishment, rabbits and other flights of fancy.
Though free-flowing in the way he swings from drama into, for instance, a musical
production, Adlon eschews the cult and kitschy. His unique method of tackling everyday
life has been both the greatest strength and the most problematic aspect of his commercial
The helmer consistently elicits fine performances and creates distinctive looks for
his films. “Younger and Younger” is no exception.