King of the Corner

Movies with big-name ensemble casts always make me nervous. Whenever I see a trailer where the biggest idea being sold is the names of the people in it, I think of films like The Towering Inferno (tagline: One Tiny Spark Becomes a Night of Blazing Suspense!!!), which starred pretty much every big name in Hollywood in 1974, and cringe uncontrollably. Peter Riegert's King of the Corner has an ensemble cast, but it's a nice, mid-level kind of cast. Not the biggest names getting all the attention in People and US Magazine, maybe, but solid enough performers to make me worry. King of the Corner, however, is one of those ensemble films where the excellent performances actually make up for the lack of a particularly original or compelling script.

Riegert, who's been around the block in a lot of TV and movie gigs, wrote and directed this film, his first feature-length attempt, in which he also stars. Riegert has kind of an Albert Brooks-esque quality in the film - although his whiny, confused, ambivalent guy is a little less whiny and annoying than Brooks usually plays it (don't get me wrong - I generally like Brooks, I just could never be in a relationship with someone so negative and whiny). Riegert plays Leo Spivak, a mid-level manager whose career has stalled out while the guys he started out with have risen in the ranks, so we know from square one we're getting a Mid-Life Crisis Movie.