Tune in Tomorrow

Blending fantasy and reality is a tricky business. Director Jon Amiel has managed it splendidly, first on TV with The Singing Detective and later in his first feature, Queen of Hearts. But even the gifted Amiel stumbles in this misguided film version of Mario Vargas Llosa's acclaimed novel Aunt Julia and the Scripter. Writer William Boyd doesn't so much adapt Llosa's novel as use it as a springboard for less imaginative inventions.

At the core of the story is sexy Aunt Julia, a twice-divorced Manhattanite played with wry humor by Barbara Hershey. Returning home to New Orleans in 1951, Aunt Julia doesn't expect to fall for her twenty-one-year-old nephew, Martin (Keanu Reeves), or have her ardent conversations with Martin turn up on a radio soap opera. It seems the soap star is a cross-dressing, Albanian-hating, bomb-throwing wacko named Pedro (Peter Falk), and he has been eavesdropping on them. Falk crushes any nuance that the other actors and Amiel try to build into the film. Like Falk's overbearing performance, Tune In Tomorrow soon wears out its welcome.

From The Archives Issue 486: November 6, 1986